What Diseases Can You Get From A Swimming Pool


Swimming is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether it’s taking a dip in a public pool or swimming in lakes and rivers, the refreshing water provides relief from hot summer days. However, it is crucial to understand the potential diseases that can be contracted from swimming pools and other bodies of water. This article aims to provide an overview of common waterborne diseases associated with swimming pools and educate readers on prevention and safety measures.

Common Waterborne Diseases

Waterborne diseases are infections caused by pathogenic microorganisms present in contaminated water sources. Swimming pools, if not properly maintained, can become breeding grounds for these pathogens due to factors such as inadequate chlorination levels or poor filtration systems.

Bacterial Infections

Legionnaires’ Disease

Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria commonly found in freshwater environments. Symptoms include fever, coughing, muscle pain, headache, and shortness of breath. The transmission occurs through inhaling small droplets containing the bacteria from contaminated water sources such as hot tubs or showers near swimming areas.

Prevention includes maintaining proper chlorine levels in pools and hot tubs while also ensuring regular cleaning procedures are followed diligently. Treatment involves antibiotics prescribed by healthcare professionals.

Pseudomonas Dermatitis (Hot Tub Rash)

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria cause this condition known as Hot Tub Rash or Swimmer’s Itch. Symptoms include red itchy rashes that may develop into pus-filled blisters over time after exposure to contaminated water sources like poorly maintained hot tubs or public pool facilities.

Prevention methods involve regularly testing chlorine levels at public pool facilities while also emphasizing personal hygiene practices such as showering before entering the pool area. Treatment usually includes topical antifungal creams prescribed by medical professionals.

Escherichia coli (E.coli)

Escherichia coli (E.coli) is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals. Inadequately chlorinated pools can become a source of E.coli contamination. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.

Prevention measures focus on maintaining proper pool hygiene through regular cleaning procedures, checking chlorine levels frequently, and ensuring prompt removal of fecal matter from the pool area. Treatment involves rehydration therapy and antibiotics if necessary.

Viral Infections


Norovirus is highly contagious and responsible for many outbreaks worldwide. It causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, headache, and body aches. The virus spreads easily through contaminated water sources or by direct contact with an infected person.

Prevention includes practicing good personal hygiene like washing hands regularly with soap before eating or after using the restroom. Infected individuals should avoid swimming until they are symptom-free for at least 48 hours to prevent further transmission.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a viral infection that primarily affects the liver. It spreads through consuming food or water contaminated by feces from an infected individual. Symptoms include fatigue, nausea/vomiting abdominal pain/discomfort followed by dark urine/yellowing of skin (jaundice).

Preventive measures consist of maintaining proper hygiene practices like handwashing after using restrooms and avoiding swallowing pool water while swimming in public facilities where there may be potential risks associated with improper disinfection techniques employed during maintenance processes.


Adenoviruses are common viruses that cause respiratory infections but can also lead to gastrointestinal illnesses when present in recreational waters like swimming pools or water parks due to poor filtration systems or inadequate chlorination levels. Symptoms vary depending on the type but can include fever/sore throat/conjunctivitis/upper respiratory infection/gastrointestinal issues (diarrhea).

To prevent adenoviral infections it’s crucial to maintain proper chlorine levels and implement regular water testing procedures at public pool facilities. Individuals should practice good personal hygiene, including avoiding swallowing pool water and showering before swimming.

Parasitic Infections

Cryptosporidium (Crypto)

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Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes the disease known as Crypto. It spreads through recreational waters contaminated with fecal matter from infected individuals or animals. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, dehydration, nausea/vomiting/weight loss.

Prevention methods involve ensuring proper chlorination levels are maintained in pools while also implementing filtration systems capable of removing these microscopic parasites from the water. Swimmers should avoid swallowing pool water to minimize risks.


Giardia is another parasitic infection caused by ingesting recreational waters contaminated with the Giardia parasite via fecal-oral transmission. Symptoms include diarrhea (sometimes chronic), abdominal pain/cramping/bloating/gas/fatigue/nausea/vomiting.

Preventive measures focus on maintaining clean swimming environments through regular monitoring of chlorine levels and implementing effective filtration systems capable of eliminating these parasites from the water sources used for recreational activities.

Fungal Infections

Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a common fungal infection caused by dermatophytes that thrive in warm and moist environments like public showers or swimming pool changing areas. Symptoms include itching, burning sensation, redness between toes/sides of feet/dry skin/flaking skin/blister formation/cracking/peeling skin/excessive foot odor/discolored nails/thickening of nails/scaling soles/inflamed soles/rash development on feet & legs due to prolonged contact with contaminated surfaces such as floors/wet towels/pool decks/shower mats etc.).

Prevention strategies consist primarily of practicing good personal hygiene habits like keeping feet dry/clean/wearing flip-flops when using communal showers or pool areas. Additionally, individuals should avoid sharing personal items like towels/socks/shoes to minimize the risks of spreading infection.


Ringworm is a common fungal infection caused by dermatophytes that can spread through contact with infected individuals or contaminated surfaces such as swimming pools and public showers. Symptoms include red/scaly patches on skin/ring-shaped rashes/itching/blisters/hair loss if it affects scalp area/nail infections (brittle/thickened/discolored nails).

Preventive measures focus on maintaining proper hygiene practices like not sharing personal items/wearing flip-flops in communal shower areas and avoiding direct contact with infected individuals while also practicing good handwashing techniques.

Prevention and Safety Measures

Prevention plays a crucial role in minimizing the risk of contracting waterborne diseases from swimming pools. Here are some essential safety measures:

Regular Pool Maintenance and Water Treatment

Pool owners should regularly test chlorine levels, pH balance, and ensure adequate filtration systems are in place to maintain clean water conditions. Routine inspections by professionals help identify potential issues early on for prompt resolution.

Proper Hygiene Practices for Swimmers

Swimmers must practice good personal hygiene habits such as showering before entering the pool area to remove any contaminants on their bodies. Avoid swallowing pool water, refrain from urinating or defecating in the water, and change diapers frequently for infants/toddlers using swim diapers designed specifically for that purpose.

Importance of Showering Before and After Swimming

Showering before swimming helps remove sweat, oils, dirt particles present on our bodies that can react chemically with chlorine leading to formation of chloramines causing eye irritation/skin problems/respiratory discomfort etc.). After swimming it’s important to rinse off residual chemicals/debris from hair/skin/clothing by taking a quick shower using soap & shampoo.

Educating Pool Staff and Users about Disease Prevention

Proper training and education of pool staff are essential to ensure they understand the importance of maintaining pool hygiene and following appropriate cleaning procedures. Swimmers should also be educated about disease prevention measures, including the risks associated with improper behavior in swimming pools.

Regular Inspection and Monitoring of Pool Water Quality

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Health departments or professionals must conduct routine inspections and water quality tests at public pool facilities to ensure compliance with safety standards. This helps identify potential issues promptly, allowing for immediate action to prevent outbreaks or contamination.


Waterborne diseases associated with swimming pools can have severe health consequences if not properly addressed. By understanding the various bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections that can be contracted from contaminated water sources, individuals can take necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.

Maintaining proper pool hygiene through regular maintenance practices such as water treatment, filtration systems checks along with practicing good personal hygiene habits like showering before entering a swimming area greatly reduces the risk of contracting these diseases.

Swimming is a recreational activity enjoyed by many people worldwide; it offers numerous physical and mental health benefits. However, ensuring safe swimming experiences requires awareness about potential risks along with proactive measures aimed at preventing waterborne illnesses. Let’s prioritize our health while enjoying this wonderful recreational activity!


  1. Immune Systems: The body’s natural defense system that helps fight off infections and diseases.
  2. Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs): Diseases or infections that can be contracted from swimming in contaminated water.
  3. Blood: Fluid circulating through the body’s blood vessels, which may contain infectious agents if a person with an open wound enters the pool.
  4. Poop: Solid waste material excreted from the intestines, which can contaminate pool water if someone has an accident while swimming.
  5. Water Playgrounds: Recreational areas featuring interactive water features where children play and may contribute to contamination of the pool water with germs.
  6. Skin Infections: Infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that affect the skin when exposed to contaminated water in pools.
  7. Skin Rashes: Redness, irritation, or abnormal changes on the skin caused by various factors including exposure to certain microorganisms in polluted pool water.
  8. Stool: Another term for fecal matter or poop that could introduce harmful pathogens into pool water if released accidentally during swimming activities.
  9. Chlorinated Water: Pool water treated with chlorine as a disinfectant to kill most disease-causing germs present in recreational waters like swimming pools and hot tubs/spas.
  10. Fresh Water: Untreated natural bodies of freshwater such as lakes and rivers; these waters can also carry potential contaminants and pose health risks if ingested during recreational activities like swimming
    11.Bacterial Infections:A type of infection caused by harmful bacteria entering a person’s body often due to poor hygiene practices or exposure to unsanitary conditions such as contaminated poolwater
    12.Ear Infections :Inflammation of the ear canal resulting from bacterial growth due to excess moisture typically experienced after swimming without proper ear protection
    13.Communicable Disease:A disease capable of being transmitted from one person to another either directly or indirectly, including those that can be contracted through contaminated swimming pool water.
    14.Common Symptoms:Typical signs and indications that are frequently experienced by individuals affected by a particular disease or infection.
    15.Ear Pain:Discomfort or ache in the ear, which can occur as a result of various conditions including swimmer’s ear caused by bacterial growth due to exposure to contaminated water.
    16.Grams of Poop:A unit of measurement used to quantify the amount of fecal matter present, indicating potential contamination levels in the pool if released accidentally.
    17.Pneumonia:A serious lung infection often caused by bacteria or viruses; it may result from inhaling airborne particles such as respiratory droplets near improperly maintained pools.
    18.Organ Transplant:The surgical procedure involving the transplantation of an organ from one person (donor) into another (recipient), requiring recipients to take immunosuppressant medication making them more susceptible to infections from germs found in recreational waters like pools.
    19.PPM in Pools: Parts per million – a measurement used for quantifying chemical concentrations present within swimming pool water, such as chlorine levels required for effective disinfection and prevention against RWIs
    20.Public Pool Water:Water contained within public swimming pools that are subject to regulations set forth by health departments aimed at ensuring safe recreational environments free from harmful pathogens associated with RWIs
    21.Recreational Water Activities:Leisurely pursuits involving contact with bodies of water like swimming pools where individuals engage in activities such as swimming, diving,and playing sports/games
    22.Swimming Pool Water :Water specifically designed for use within constructed swimming pools and treated using proper maintenance techniques and disinfectants like chlorine
    23.Water Features :Decorative elements integrated into a pool design which includes fountains,sprinklers,jets,splash pads etc., adding aesthetic appeal while potentially introducing contaminants if not properly maintained
    24.Water Within Minutes :The rapid rate at which infections can occur after exposure to contaminated water, emphasizing the importance of practicing proper hygiene and avoiding ingestion or contact with pathogens
    25.Eye Infections:Inflammation or infection affecting the eyes caused by bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that can be contracted from swimming in contaminated pool water.
    26.Common Infection :A frequently encountered illness typically caused by various pathogens present in polluted pool water such as bacterial or viral infections.
    27.Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):Infections affecting any part of the urinary system (kidneys, bladder, ureters) potentially resulting from exposure to germs found in unsanitary swimming waters.
    28.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): A federal agency responsible for protecting public health through disease prevention and control measures including monitoring and providing guidance on recreational water safety.
    29.Contracted Diseases:Illnesses acquired due to exposure to infectious agents often found in unclean pools containing harmful bacteria,viruses,protozoa etc
    30.Infectious Disease Specialist:A medical professional specialized in diagnosing,treating,and preventing infectious diseases including those related to swimming pools
    31.Pool Disease :Informal term referring generally to illnesses contracted as a result of swimming within poorly maintained,polluted pool environments.
    32.Excess Chlorine:An elevated concentration of chlorine disinfectant within pool waters,resulting from overuse; this may cause unpleasant odors,such as “the smell of chlorine,” irritate skin,and pose potential health risks if ingested.
    33.Person-to-Person Transmission:Disease transmission occurring directly between individuals via close contact without involving an intermediate source like contaminated recreational water.
    34.Flu-like Symptoms:Symptoms resembling those associated with influenza including fever,fatigue,muscle aches,nasal congestion,cough,sore throat; may be experienced when infected with certain RWIs after exposure to untreated waters like lakes,rivers etc.,
    35.Life-Threatening Symptoms:Severe signs or indications that pose a significant risk to an individual’s health and well-being, often requiring immediate medical attention.
    36.Health Departments:Government agencies responsible for overseeing public health matters, including regulating swimming pool safety standards and investigating outbreaks of waterborne illnesses
    37.Hot Tub Rash:A skin condition caused by exposure to certain bacteria commonly found in inadequately disinfected hot tubs/spas; characterized by itchy red bumps on the skin
    38.Eye Pain :Discomfort experienced within the eye often resulting from various conditions like conjunctivitis or corneal infections transmitted through contaminated pool waters
    39.Maintenance of Pools:The regular upkeep required for optimal functionality,safety,and cleanliness of swimming pools,including proper disinfection,filtration,balancing chemical levels,and removal of contaminants
    40.Proper Maintenance:Meticulous adherence to necessary steps involved in maintaining the quality and hygiene standards within pools,aiming at preventing diseases and ensuring safe recreational environments.
    41.Proper Pool Maintenance:Systematic approach involving scheduled activities aimed at preserving the cleanliness,functionality,and safety of a swimming pool,reducing risks associated with contracting RWIs
    42.Acute Diarrhea:Sudden onset of loose stools occurring over a short period which may be caused by ingestion/swallowing/direct contact with contaminated recreational waters
    43.Chemical Levels :Concentration measurements indicating appropriate amounts of sanitizing agents like chlorine needed to maintain effective disinfection levels against germs present in swimming pool water.
    44.Bloody Stool:Presence of blood mixed with feces during bowel movements which could indicate infection or damage within the digestive tract due to ingesting pathogens from polluted water sources
    45.Abdominal Cramps:Painful spasms experienced in the abdominal area typically resulting from irritation,inflammation,infections related issues such as gastroenteritis after exposureto harmful microorganisms while using infected pool waters.
    46.Form of Pneumonia:Various types or classifications of pneumonia, including those potentially acquired through inhalation of water droplets contaminated with bacteria or other infectious agents found in improperly maintained swimming pools
    47.Type of Pneumonia:Different categories or variations within the broad classification of pneumonia caused by various microorganisms such as Legionella pneumophila that can be contracted from contaminated pool environments
    48.Otitis Externa (Swimmer’s Ear):An infection affecting the outer ear canal often caused by bacterial growth due to prolonged exposure to contaminated recreational waters without proper protection
    49.Clinical Professor:A senior healthcare professional involved in teaching and training medical students,residents,and fellows,contributing their expertise within academic settings.
    50.Pool-Related Illnesses:Infections,diseases,or health conditions directly linked to activities involving swimming pools and related aquatic facilities.

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Mike Hunter

Mike is the owner of the local pool shop. He's been in the business for over 20 years and knows everything there is to know about pools. He's always happy to help his customers with whatever they need, whether it's advice on pool maintenance or choosing the right chemicals. He's also a bit of a pool expert, and is always happy to share his knowledge with anyone who's interested.

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