There are 12 pools and one splash pad within Perry County that are inspected annually by the health department. In order for the local pools to open safely, they must first be inspected and licensed by the health department for compliance with state laws and regulations. The pool inspector looks at pool chemistry and safety of the pool to reduce the transmission of water-borne illnesses and decrease the potential for injury.

The chlorine levels and pH levels (amount of alkali) of the pool water are tested. Proper pool chemistry helps to reduce or prevent the spread of disease between pool users while keeping the swimmers comfortable by preventing eye and skin irritation. The germ-killing power of chlorine varies with the pH level. As the pH level goes up, the ability of the chlorine to kill germs goes down. Pool owners and operators must regularly check the chlorine and pH level of the water to protect the swimmers from swimming related illnesses.

Water illnesses are spread by swallowing pool water that has been contaminated with fecal matter. If someone has diarrhea, that person can easily contaminate other swimmers as the water within the pool is recirculated. Pool water is not sterile, and swimmers should not intentionally swallow the water. The good news is that germs causing water illnesses are killed by chlorine. While fast acting, chlorine doesn’t work right away. A pool contaminated by fecal matter would be closed for the day while being treated.

Swimmers can take some simple steps to help prevent the spread of illness. Do not swim when you have diarrhea; this is especially important for kids in diapers. Do not swallow the pool water and practice good hygiene. Take your kids on bathroom breaks often and change diapers in a bathroom and not at the poolside.

For more information on the pool in your community, contact Chad Cook at Chad.Cook@perrycountyohio.net.

Perry County Health Department is working to keep you healthy where you live, work and play. For more information about any program or service offered by the Perry County Health Department, contact us at 740-342-5179 or visit us on online at perrycountyhealth.info

Deborah Raney is director of health education and a weekly contributor to the Perry County Tribune.

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