Beware! Public swimming pools are dirtier than you think

During the summer times, people rush to cool down in a swimming pool, but these public pools are actually a lot more unhygienic than you think.

Public swimming pools are dirtier than you think
© Tim Macpherson GETTY_IMAGES
Public swimming pools are dirtier than you think

When there are many people in the water at the same time, chances are that at least one of them hasn't showeredbefore jumping in or considers a trip to the toilet superfluous. Chlorine gets added to the water so that we don't get sick while bathing. But is that enough to keep the water reasonably clean?

Discover our latest podcast

Chlorine keeps it clean

Anyone who has ever been to an outdoor or indoor pool knows the familiar smell of chlorine. However, the scent only arises when it is combined with urine, as reported by Spiegel. This means that the more it smells of chlorine, the more bathers have gone to the toilet in the pool. But even when you simply don't take a shower before you go swimming, you’re still putting urine into the pool.

Alexander Kampf explained:

If about 40 people don't shower, it's like peeing in the sink.
These public swimming pools are dirtier than you think MoMo Productions GETTY_IMAGES

An official statement from the Federal Environment Agencytherefore advises taking a shower just before going into the pool:

The urine can be almost completely removed from the skin by thorough showering.

However, once the chlorine becomes active, pathogens are quickly killed off, as it has both an antibacterial and antiviral effect.

Outdoor pools are not entirely harmless to health

Martin Kotinsky, who works for the Municipal Baths in Vienna, explained to Today how the water is cleaned:

There are more and more modern filter systems with an activated carbon layer, which also filter out organic substances without any problems. So you can keep the water clean with little effort. The water is routed from the overflow channel into a catchment basin, from where it returns to the basin after being filtered with a certain amount of fresh water and the required amount of chlorine.

A day in the pool can still cause health problems for some people. Some have an allergic reaction to the added chlorine. The symptoms manifest themselves as follows:

  • Red eyes
  • Formation of wheals or pustules
  • Itchy rash

It gets really uncomfortable when it comes to athlete's foot. Fungus loves damp environments and is happy about everyone who doesn't have sandals with them. The Hautzentrum Berlin therefore recommends using bathing shoes and drying your feet properly after swimming.

So if you want to do others - and yourself - a favour, remember your sandals, a towel and, above all, shower properly. Then it smells even more pleasant in the open-air swimming pool!

This article is translated from Gentside DE.

Read more:

Sexual hygiene: Here are the best ways to clean up after having sex

Hygiene: Here’s why you should never put toilet paper on a public toilet

This is what happens to your body when you stop showering

Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips Try optimising your mental health with 'mental hygiene' tips