It’s no exaggeration to say our lives have been drastically changed since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and governments around the world began shutting down many facets of our normal day to day lives. Things we once took for granted, such as restaurant meals, haircuts, and toilet paper have suddenly become limited in supply. But what about those of us who own a swimming pool or spa? Can you get COVID-19 from pools and hot tubs? Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19 does not exist in our water supplies and cannot survive in water that’s been properly maintained and disinfected. And while this is great news for those who need these refuges now more than ever, it’s important to stay vigilant when it comes to health and safety. In this article we’ll go over how to keep safe around your pool or hot tub during the pandemic.
The Importance of Water Quality
Even though the CDC says chances of the virus that causes COVID-19 to survive in the water of a swimming pool or hot tub are very unlikely, it’s still important to ensure that the water is still properly maintained and disinfected. Ignoring guidelines regarding water quality can lead to the growth of bacteria and viruses in the best of times, so now is not the time to become complacent when it comes to keeping your water fresh and clean. Information from the CDC also advises that the virus that causes COVID-19 has been detected in untreated wastewater at water treatment plants, which suggests that it could possibly survive in improperly treated swimming pool and hot tub water. It’s up to you to make sure this doesn’t happen by following regular swimming pool and hot tub water quality procedures, as well as government, recommended social distancing and hand hygiene guidelines.
Swimming Pool and Hot Tub Water Quality Control
It’s generally recommended to test your swimming pool or hot tub water every week. More so if it’s getting more use than usual. You might even want to increase your testing frequency just for your own peace of mind. Initially, you should be testing for alkalinity, pH, and sanitizer levels. The results you get will let you know if you need to add any chemicals to get these measurements back in balance. You’ll also want to shock your pool or hot tub on a regular basis. This entails adding a large dose of oxidizer to remove organic contaminants, bacteria, and viruses. It’ll also reduce the chlorine waste products, known as chloramines, that create the chlorine-like smell often associated with swimming pools and hot tubs. You’ll also want to regularly inspect and clean the hot tub cover as this can be an area that promotes growth of algae, bacteria and viruses. Cleaning and inspection of the water filters is another weekly task that will ensure your water remains clean and safe.
Other Hygiene Standards
Once you’ve got a handle on keeping your water quality in top shape, you should focus on the people using the swimming pool or hot tub. Even though the virus may be neutralized by chlorinated water, it’s main means of transmission is through the air or from person to person contact. Maintaining a distance of at least two metres between people who aren’t from the same household is still important. People who are feeling sick should be self-isolating and not be getting into the water. Hand hygiene with soap and water or hand sanitizer should be performed frequently and especially before entering the pool or hot tub. Sneezes and coughs should be covered by a tissue if possible and the tissue should be immediately disposed of.
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