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To swim or not to swim?

Wednesday, January 27, 2021   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: health, pools, disease, swimming, safety

Canterbury DHB media release: 27th January 2021

Recent hot weather serves as a good reminder that the end of January and right through the month of February is typically the hottest period of the year for us here in Canterbury.

These hotter temperatures make taking a dip in a nice cool swimming pool very appealing. School pools will become especially popular as the start of the school year approaches.

The main way people can become ill from a pool is through contact with infected or polluted water. Cantabrians are being urged to stay out of the water if they’ve been sick or are feeling unwell to help reduce the chances of other people getting sick.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink explains that people assume chlorine will kill everything. However Cryptosporidium and Giardia in particular are resistant to the standard chlorine dosages you find in most pools.

“People can become ill by sharing a swimming pool or spa with a person who has had a recent gastro infection and hasn’t fully recovered from the illness.

“Most people who contract gastro infections experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, stomach cramps and nausea, vomiting and fever. Others with weakened immune systems can develop serious chronic and sometimes fatal illness.

“These symptoms can occur on and off for weeks. This is why we are asking people to respect a stand-down period of two weeks after their symptoms subside - during which they should avoid swimming in pools or sharing a spa. This is to ensure they have fully recovered and are no longer infectious,” says Dr Pink.

Key things to remember before you go to the pool or spa

  • Stay away from pools and spas for at least two weeks after you feel better.
  • Always shower before entering the pool - even if you haven’t been ill.
  • Report any ‘code browns’ immediately. Community pool operators can clean as needed and apply a stronger dose of chlorine to the area to make it safer.