As pools begin to open back up across the US, a lot of people are asking:
“Is it safe to go swimming?”
Here’s the short answer: pools treated with chlorine and/or saltwater are very safe, according to the CDC and Public Health officials. There’s a very low risk of contracting COVID-19 in the pool.
COVID-19 is a viral infection transmitted primarily through droplets when people cough or sneeze, and experts note that it’s unlikely for respiratory viruses to be transmitted in water – whether you’re going to swim in a pool, lake, or ocean.
According to Dr. Michael Hochman, the director of USC’s Gher Family Center, “Pools are actually very safe. The chlorine in pools is going to deactivate the virus and saltwater and oceans are not good environments for the virus to grow.”
While it is very unlikely you’ll catch the coronavirus while swimming, here are three tips for keeping yourself and others safe.
Go to the pool during off-hours.
If you’re planning to visit the pool, go right when it opens, or toward the end of the day when there are fewer crowds. Since the virus is more likely to be transmitted through droplets when people cough or sneeze, the key is avoiding large groups of people and traffic on the pool deck and in the pool.
Shower before and after swimming.
Rinse off before hopping in the water, and shower after swimming to make sure you’ve washed off any unwanted bacteria. To avoid exposure, we recommend bringing your own shampoo and body wash.
Let’s face it – not many people will opt to wear a mask at the pool. This makes it much more important that you keep a distance from other groups while in the pool and on the pool deck.
“Without proper social distancing, a water park or a pool might be a high-risk scenario. It’s not the risk of the water itself. It’s the density of people. And, it’s hard to wear a cloth mask when it’s soaked,” says Pastula, an associate professor for the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Most important of all – use your common sense. While going for a swim is very safe, maintaining proper etiquette and precautions will be your best defense against COVID-19.
So get out there, and go enjoy the water this summer. Don’t let fears of catching the virus stop ya.