The novel coronavirus has posed serious challenges to all aspects of our lives. Fun outdoor activities have really suffered because people used to come together in crowds to have a good time. Swimming pool activities have also been affected significantly and not just due to the virus itself but also due to the lack of clear safety guidelines on how to use and clean the pools during this pandemic. There is also not enough knowledge about the risks of transmission when in a swimming pool. Like, can you get infected with coronavirus through the water? Or, does the chlorine in pool water kill coronavirus? How can you safeguard yourself from the coronavirus in the swimming pool this summer?
Here is what the experts have to say:
Does Coronavirus Spread Through Water?
No, coronavirus does not spread through water. Coronavirus is a respiratory disease, which means it spreads through tiny droplets from mucus or spit. This makes a huge difference from waterborne illnesses. According to scientists, when the virus gets in contact with the water, it’s likely to be diluted, thus reducing the viral load and, with it, the risk of getting infected. Also, being a respiratory disease, the likelihood of getting infected from swallowing water is very minimal.
According to the CDC, the use of swimming pool disinfectants such as chlorine and bromine also reduces the spread of coronavirus in swimming pools. Remember, viruses are made of strands of either DNA or RNA, so the tough disinfectants help to inactivate the virus. Therefore, swimming in a properly treated pool is considered safe.
That should not be interpreted to mean that you are 100% safe from coronavirus when in the swimming pool, though. The risks of getting infected from the water itself are very low, but you can still get the virus from the surroundings i.e., other people around the swimming pool as well as the surfaces and objects around the pool. This is where coronavirus swimming pool safety guidelines come in.
Here is how you can stay safe in the swimming pool.
- Observe Social Distance
Swimming pool water may not be able to transmit the virus, but your fellow swimmers can definitely do that. This is why experts advocate for social distancing both in and out of the pool. You need to stay at least 6 feet from other swimmers because they can release the virus through sneezing or coughing, which means you can get infected if the virus lands on your nose or mouth.
Now, we can all agree that maintaining social distancing in a swimming pool is really difficult. It becomes harder, if not impossible, to do so in public swimming pools. Social distancing in a sizeable private swimming pool with a few swimmers is much easier, but if you are in a crowded pool, you’ll probably need to employ other safety measures to keep yourself safe.
- Wear A Face Mask
The one thing experts around the world agree on is that coronavirus infections can be reduced significantly by wearing cloth face coverings such as face masks. Scientific data proves this, and that’s why anti-maskers are a dangerous trend that should not be entertained.
Of course, it doesn’t make sense to wear a face mask in the water, so don’t do that. However, if you are just chilling by the pool, make sure that you have your cool face mask on. This is especially crucial if you are in a community pool or hanging around people you don’t live with.
- Observe Hand Hygiene
When you are playing by the pool interacting with different shared objects, there is a risk that you can contract the virus from these surfaces or objects. Therefore, it’s advisable to maintain hand hygiene as much as possible. Use water and soap or a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to regularly clean your hands.
- Check the Pool Rules
We live in a new normal now, and every establishment has come up with new measures of mitigating the spread of coronavirus. It’s vital to inquire about the new rules or lack thereof, of a swimming pool before going there. You want to enjoy your hot summer in a swimming pool that has put up safety measures for you. There should be clear guidelines on issues such as crowd control and disinfection of the facilities. Ask how many people are allowed in the pool at any given time. If there are shared facilities like changing rooms, showers, lounges, etc., check to see how regularly they are disinfected. In summary, go to a swimming pool that cares about your safety.
Is It Safe to Swim in the Ocean and Lakes?
Yes, it is. Actually, the dilution effect is bigger in a larger water body, such as the ocean and lakes. However, there is still the issue of social distancing that you need to observe. Social distancing and hand hygiene are all very important, particularly if you’re planning on just spending time in a crowded beach.