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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Health

Research dives into myths, facts on pool safety


Surveys by Water Quality and Health Council tackled myths on pool safety. Tests proved that the clarity of pool water doesn’t indicate cleanliness, and chlorine doesn’t turn hair green. Several precautions can be taken to prevent diseases. | Kayla Stewart/The Daily Cougar

Surveys by Water Quality and Health Council tackled myths on pool safety. Tests proved that the clarity of pool water doesn’t indicate cleanliness, and chlorine doesn’t turn hair green. Several precautions can be taken to prevent diseases. | Kayla Stewart/The Daily Cougar

Taking a dip in the pool can help Houstonians cool off from the heat of summer, but swimmers should be aware of myths and facts about pool safety.

One of these myths is the belief that swimmer’s red eye is caused by excess chlorine in pool water. Research conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council stated that, in fact, red eyes occur when nitrogen, found in urine and sweat, mixes with chlorine and creates irritants called chloramines. Improper pH balances are also a common cause of red eyes.

Assistant director of aquatics Rachel O’Mara is primarily responsible for balancing chemicals in both pools at UH. O’Mara uses chlorine and muriatic acid to disinfect and keep the pH levels balanced.

“We have a cleaning and maintenance schedule that the aquatics staff is responsible for completing daily,” O’Mara said. “This includes everything from vacuuming the pool to hosing down the deck and cleaning the windows in the sauna. It’s a comprehensive list that ensures all areas of the natatorium and leisure pool get cleaned and maintained.”

O’Mara discussed cryptosporidium, a disease intolerant to chlorine, and advised swimmers not to spit, swallow or spout pool water. She also suggests showering before and after swimming to prevent spreading germs and diseases.

A recent Mason-Dixie survey discovered that 52 percent of people believe public pools use urine-detecting chemicals. However, no such product exists.

Having to wait 20 to 30 minutes after eating is another common belief, but it has been proven to be factual. According to Duke Diet and Fitness Center, the body sends blood to the digestive tract to help digestion, but swimming immediately afterward causes a lack of blood flow to the arms and legs that creates cramps.

“I always wait 20 minutes after I eat before I swim,” sports administration junior Mark Sandoval said. “My food is still digesting, and I don’t want to get cramps.”

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