What if my child has diarrhea?
Don't take your child swimming.
Otherwise, he or she may contaminate the water with fecal matter by simply moving through the water or having a fecal accident. Contaminating the pool puts other swimmers at risk of getting a recreational water illness (RWI). Although swimmers with diarrhea do not mean to contaminate the water, this is how illness is spread.
Do swim diapers or swim pants prevent fecal matter from entering the water?
Not likely. Swim diapers are unlikely to prevent diarrhea (which may contain germs) from leaking into the pool. Even though diapers or swim pants may hold in some feces, they are not leak proof and can still contaminate the pool water. Therefore, it is recommended that you change your child often and make frequent trips to the toilet. Swim diapers or pants are not a remedy for frequent diaper changing.
What should I do if I see fecal matter in the pool?
Immediately notify the pool attendant or lifeguard.
Pool staff should ask swimmers to leave the water immediately. The pool water may be tested and the chlorine levels raised, depending on the policy and initial chlorine level at the pool.
The wait between the closing and re-opening of the pool can be frustrating. Be supportive of pool management as the pool is closed to prevent the spread of recreational water illnesses (RWIs), which can make you and your family sick.
Should I think the water is safe if I don't see fecal matter in the pool?
No. Just because you can't see these germs doesn't mean that they are not present.
Even the best-maintained pools can spread illness. Therefore, the safest pools are pools that are not only well maintained, but also have the commitment of all patrons to practice healthy swimming behaviors.
Remember, chlorine does kill all germs, but it takes time. Some germs can live for hours to several days in swimming pools. Be aware that as a swimmer, you play a crucial role in preventing recreational water illnesses (RWIs).
How can I protect myself, my family, and others from getting sick?
Healthy swimming behaviors are needed to protect you and your kids from RWIs and will help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place.
Here are six "P-L-E-As" that promote Healthy Swimming:
Three "P-L-E-As" for Everyone
Three "P-L-E-As" for Parents with Young Kids
Follow these "P-L-E-As" to protect your child and others from getting sick and to help keep RWIs out of your community:
Related Resources - Exercise / Swimming / Water Therapy
Related Resources - Swimming Safety
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy Swimming, Questions and Answers for Swimmers