Public Pool Contamination and Its Effects on Your Kids Health

posted in: Kids' Health

Summer is just around the corner and as you probably know there is nothing more relaxing than spending a few hours in a clean and clear swimming pool. In fact, this is a great way for your whole family to cool off on a hot day. However, we all know that pools, especially the public ones can be a lot of fun, but they are also very dangerous. While swimming pools water looks clean and sparkling clear, dangers can lurk in them. For example, a few years ago, in August, Texas health officials have been forced to shut down a swimming pool after several children got chemical burns from chlorine in the water. According to a recent report, most people believe that chlorine sanitizes and oxidizes your pool, maintaining it clean and clear. This is partially correct because a large amount of chlorine can cause irritations and allergic reactions in some swimmers, especially in children. More than that, according to National Institutes of Health, chlorine is a known carcinogen, which means that it has been linked to cancer.

As mentioned above, most pool owners use chlorine to destroy contaminants in pool water, but what they really don’t know is that chlorine creates harmful disinfection byproducts. These byproducts have a negative impact on your kid’s health, affecting them into adulthood. As a parent, it is very important to understand that pool contamination lead to various unpleasant side effects. We mentioned above that chlorine cause irritation. We should also mention that pool contamination causes irritant dermatitis especially in kids. Kids have sensitive skin and contamination cause skin to become irritated. This can include itchy, burning eyes, dry skin and overall discomfort. Also, it is worth mentioning that pool contaminants increase the risk of bronchiolitis in infants. This is a lung infection in infants which is caused by a virus. It causes congestion in the small airways of the lung. Several studies have shown that kids who swim in contaminated pools have an increased risk of bronchiolitis. Also, they have an increased risk of asthma and allergic sensitization. In fact, asthma and all these allergies are caused by disinfection byproducts and chloramines which irritate the respiratory system.

Whether it is a private swimming pool or a public one, bacteria and germs could be lurking in the water to make your kids sick. Contrary to popular belief, recreational bathing which is supposed to be fun has become a health risk, especially for children. According to the several specialists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are several diseases that are commonly associated with recreational bathing and public pools.

The most common diseases caused by pool contamination that can directly affect your infants are:

E. Coli

Also known as the Escherichia coli, E. Coli is one of the most common yet dangerous diseases caused by infected pools. This rod-shaped bacteria that normally live in the intestines of people and animals is the principal cause of diarrheal illnesses. In fact, it can cause intestinal infection, especially in young children. The most common symptoms of E. Coli include diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain. Also, it is very important to understand that it often occurs from infected water, as well as from swimming in infected recreational waters.


Also called Giardia enteritis, Giardiasis is an infection of the small intestine. It can cause acute diarrhea and may lead to serious diseases and intestinal disorders, including abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, weight loss and more. It is often associated with contaminated water and contaminated public pools and it is found more frequently in children.

Hepatitis A

The Hepatitis A is an illness caused by a virus and not a bacteria. It is often associated with contaminated water or contaminated public pools. However, when related to contaminated pools and inadequate sanitation, it can be controlled by improving sanitary practices. It is also worth mentioning that does not respond to antibiotics.


Shigellosis is an infection caused by a group of bacteria ( Shigella species). People, especially kids who are infected with this bacteria develop fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps starting a day, maximum two days after they are exposed to Shigella. In fact, this is a recreational water illness that is caused by contaminated water in water parks, swimming pools, water play areas and even rivers and lakes.

Generally speaking, recreational water illnesses are caused by bacteria, germs and viruses. According to several doctors, recreational water illnesses are related to a plethora of infections, including respiratory, skin, gastrointestinal and so on. However, the most common water illnesses are diarrhea which is usually caused by germs such as Shigella, E.Coli and Giardia.