(CBS Local) — Summer is almost here and that means there’s a good chance you’ll soon be taking a dip in the pool to cool off.
But beware before you get in.
A new survey reveals more than half of Americans (51 percent) use swimming pools as a communal bathtub — using the pool as a substitute to showering or rinsing off after engaging in exercise or yard work. That’s despite nearly two-thirds (64 percent) saying they know that pool chemicals do not eliminate the need to shower before swimming.
“When dirt, sweat, personal care products, and other things on our bodies react with chlorine, there is less chlorine available to kill germs,” said Dr. Chris Wiant, chair of the Water Quality & Health Council. “Rinsing off for just 1 minute removes most of the dirt, sweat, or anything else on your body.”
When it comes to bodily functions, 40 percent of Americans surveyed readily admitted that they had peed in a pool as an adult. Experts say urine in the pool reacts with chlorine and reduces the amount of chlorine available to kill germs.
“The bottom line is: Don’t pee in the pool,” said Michele Hlavsa, chief of CDC‘s Healthy Swimming program. “Swimming is a great way to be physically active and not peeing in the pool is a key healthy swimming step.”
The 2019 Healthy Pools survey was conducted online by Sachs Media Group, a public relations firm working on behalf of the Water Quality & Health Council, a group of advisors to the chlorine industry trade association, CBS News reported.
The Water Quality & Health Council is offering free pool test kits. It has also compiled a growing list of local and state health departments that provide online access to swimming pool inspection reports.
“Pools are great places to have fun with friends and family,” said Jim Mock, Interim Executive Director of the Pool and Hot Tub Alliance. “A trained pool operator can get the mix of pool chemicals healthy and safe, and swimmers can help keep it right by swimming healthy.”