These are incredibly stressful times—and every bit of relaxation we can muster goes a long way. So I don’t blame you if you’ve recently found yourself driving by the indoor pool facility you used in pre-pandemic times and felt a twinge of longing. Swimming is one of best activities—not only is it naturally fun, but it helps destress while also delivering a low-impact, full-body workout. But when it comes to indoor pools, all swimmers should know the calculated risks. I’ll explain why it’s important to be careful when it comes to the COVID-19 virus, why pool water is safe from the virus, and other risk-related considerations to make when deciding whether or not to visit that indoor pool. Let’s dive in.
Good, You’re Careful—Here’s Why You Should Be
Hey, I get it. The time since the COVID-19 virus spread to an official pandemic has seriously dragged on. While it’s tempting to jump back into normalcy, it’s much more important to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded why our lives look different these days—and why the situation calls for extreme caution. Let’s revisit what the national health authority, the Centers for Disease Control, has to say about the virus.
How COVID-19 Spreads
According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact (within about six feet) with one another. Here’s how:
Thought to be the Main Way the Virus Spreads:
Through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes These particles can be inhaled into the nose, mouth, airways, and lungs and cause infection.
Not Thought to be the Main Way the Virus Spreads:
Through droplets that land on surfaces and objects and are transferred by touch. A person may get COVID-19 by touching the surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes.
Another Possible Way the Virus Spreads:
It is possible that COVID-19 may spread through the droplets and airborne particles that are formed when a person who has COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes. There is growing evidence that droplets and airborne particles can remain suspended in the air and be breathed in by others, and travel distances beyond six feet (for example, during choir practice, in restaurants, or in fitness classes). In general, indoor environments without good ventilation increase this risk.
For your own pool, keep your sanitizer working at its highest capacity by switching to a powerful automatic cleaner that works on its own to keep your water sparkling clean. I recommend the Blue Torrent MyBot Inground Robotic Cleaner, which works powerfully on its own to keep your walls and floor sparkling clean. As customer David Lain says, “Very pleased. My wife loves it.”
Symptoms of COVID-19
The CDC reports that anyone can have mild to severe symptoms—that means no matter what your age or health condition. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The CDC warns that this list may be incomplete, since it’s very possible that there are more symptoms we don’t know about yet. And if someone is showing any signs of trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the best, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or any other severe symptoms, it’s important to seek emergency medical care immediately.
Come On In, The Water’s Fine!
I’ve got some good news to counteract all the less fortunate happenings of the pandemic: the CDC reports that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of recreational waters. That means that as of now, swimming pool water is believed to be safe from the virus. We’ll take that as a major win for our favorite type of recreation.
Even before the CDC was able to report no evidence, their recommendation was to make sure that the pool in question was properly sanitized, since the right dose of chlorine or bromine is known to wipe out other harmful viruses. With proper pool operation and maintenance, most experts believe that transmission of the COVID-19 virus through water is virtually impossible. Since the last thing anyone wants during a pandemic is to get compromised by another disease, it’s important to check the sanitizer in whatever indoor pool you’re using. At a time like this, it’s important to keep your ducks in a row. (Not real ducks, please!)
Unfortunately, these findings from the CDC don’t exactly mean that any indoor pool is completely safe. But that’s not because of the water—it’s because of what can happen when you’re not in the pool.
Looking to extend your pool’s swim season as much as you can, so that you can safely get out and have fun? A heat pump is the answer for you—but you’ll want a powerful unit that will save you on your energy bill every month, like the Energy-Saving ComforTemp Pool Heat Pump 95,000 BTU to heat 18,000 Gallons. According to customer Steve, “Simple install and simple set up. Heated my pool from 66 to 82 degrees in about 2 complete days.”
But the Air? That’s Not as Fine
Actually, swimming in an indoor pool is a low-risk activity, assuming you’re able to maintain proper distancing from others in the pool. But going to a public pool involves more than just swimming. It’s before and after your swim that can be risky. So let’s get into where exactly the risk lies—with a little help from the Japanese government.
Avoiding the Three Cs
Unfortunately, this is a global pandemic. But the silver lining is that we can look at the effective messaging by health authorities in other countries—and Japan in particular has a helpful warning to avoid the Three Cs: closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby, and close-contact settings such as close-range conversations. It’s especially important to prevent these Cs from overlapping. So let’s talk through these Cs as they might present themselves in an indoor pool.
C #1: Closed Indoor Spaces
This is where outdoor pools have the upper hand. Depending on the ventilation of the indoor pool, it could be at a higher risk for virus transmission. And that’s a bummer, since indoor pools are often open year-round. If you do go to an indoor pool, you’ll want to make sure that it’s in a large, airy space.
C #2: Crowded Places
Are the patrons of your particular pool using the facility for exercise, or are there cannonball competitions and Marco Polo games happening across the waters? In any crowded area, including the pool, the virus is believed to transmit more easily.
C #3: Close-Contact Settings
Remember, the CDC warned that it’s possible that those respiratory droplets (you know, the ones that are established as the most common way the virus spreads) can travel further than just six feet during fitness classes. This is because when we exercise, we breathe especially heavily. Just like singing can spread droplets further than six feet, so can the panting a swimmer does during laps.
To keep your pool’s sanitizer working, it’s important to shock your waters about once a week. I recommend tried and true shock like the Super Premium Sanitizing and Fast-Acting Pool Shock. Not only does it work fast in your water, but its conveniently packaged in one-pound bags, so you never have to worry about measuring yours out again. As customer W Graves says, “Perfectly good shock at a third of the regular brick-and-mortar stores’ price. What’s not to like?”
If It’s a Public Pool, Let’s Talk Through Some Basics
The indoor pool of your choice checking out on the three Cs? That doesn’t mean it’s risk-free, but we’re all free to make our own calculated risks. Here are a few guidelines and considerations if you’re willing to take the dive.
When You’re Not in the Water
The most essential tip I can give you is to keep it quick, since continuous exposure increases risk. Go to the pool early in the day so that you can be one of the first in and out. Make sure to maintain distance from other people around and in the pool before and after your swim, and wear a mask when you’re not in the water.
When You’re in the Water
Take off your mask before you swim. As the CDC notes, masks can be difficult to breathe through when they’re wet. While you’re swimming, make sure to stay as far away as possible from other swimmers.
Don’t Forget the Locker Room!
The locker room during a pandemic is typically the stuff of health experts’ nightmares: they’re usually small, cramped, and don’t have a ton of ventilation. If possible, show up to the pool already in your swimsuit. If you do need to shower and change into dry clothes afterward, be quick. It’s probably best to save the full haircare treatment for after you get home. It’s all the better if your facility has a locker room occupancy limit.
To keep your pool’s circulation system in top shape, you’ll need a reliable, powerful, and energy-saving pump like the 2 HP Energy Star Variable Speed In Ground Blue Torrent Cyclone Pump to make sure all your water is sanitized. Plus, it comes with a free warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year. According to customer James Robinson, “Great price, quick shipping and delivery. Installed it and turned it on, and it was so quiet that we both reached down to feel if it was vibrating! Simple controls. I’d buy it again.”
If It’s Your Pool, You’re Good to Go!
Wait a minute there. Is the pool in question your own? Hey, good for you. As long as you’re swimming with members of your own household, you’re virtually swimming risk-free. That’s the most relaxing way to do it, and yet another reason why pool ownership is the way to go. In either case, wishing you all the safety possible—and the best full-body workout, thanks to the low-impact nature of swimming. Enjoy.