Well, it’s been stressful for sure. We’re all getting used to “the new normal,” but that doesn’t mean it actually feels normal. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon—and neither is all the unsourced speculation of what we should and shouldn’t be doing. In a world where we’re constantly concerned about the wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones, it’s especially important to be able to keep the simple pleasures of our pre-pandemic lives, as long as they’re safe.
Thankfully, swimming in your own pool with your own household is one of the safest activities you can engage in. As for other swimming activities, such as swimming at the beach, in public pools, in water play areas, and kiddie pools, the risk varies. I’ll explain the risk or lack of risk around each swimming activity, so you can make your own informed calls about some much-needed fun for you and yours. But first, let’s revisit some important details about COVID-19 from public health authorities.
Let’s Look at COVID-19—From Trusted Sources
Alright, let’s take a look at this virus—the right way. Since there is so much nasty misinformation floating out there, it’s important to clean up exactly what COVID-19 is and how it functions. I’ll be sourcing the national authority on health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for every fact so we stay on track.
At the beginning of the pandemic, you might’ve Googled the word “coronavirus.” In fact, many coronaviruses have existed throughout time, and chances are that you’ve had some of them—we know some as the common cold. Though also a coronavirus, this COVID-19 virus is particularly dangerous to humans because it’s novel, meaning that it hasn’t been previously identified—which also means there’s no vaccine, and we have no resistance to it. There’s a reason it’s uprooted our normal lives. (Source: CDC).
People who contract the disease COVID-19 (officially named SARS-CoV-2) usually have a fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath. However, if someone with COVID-19 has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or the inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face, they might not be getting enough oxygen. This can be fatal, and it’s imperative that they go to the hospital immediately. (Source: CDC).
We all know that we don’t want this virus, and that it’s our civic duty to prevent its spread as much as possible. But in order to take preventative measures, we’ll need to remember just how this virus spreads.
Keep your sanitizer working at its highest capacity—and all the more powerful against the COVID-19 virus—by switching to a powerful automatic cleaner that works on its own to keep your pool sparkling clean, like the Blue Torrent MyBot Inground Robotic Cleaner. As customer David Lain says, “Very pleased. My wife loves it.”
A Refresher On How COVID-19 Spreads
According to CDC, the virus is primarily spread from person to person. Here’s how:
· When people are in close contact with each other—within about six feet.
· Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths and noses of nearby people, or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. In some cases, these droplets remain in the air after the infected person has left.
· COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
· Though not considered the main way the virus spreads, it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
The CDC Recommends Recreation
It isn’t just the job of health experts to tell you what to do in a pandemic. They’re also concerned about the health and wellbeing of all people at all times. And one major recommendation for overall health has always been physical activity.
According to the CDC, physical activity is essential, and “it’s possible—and important—to be physically active while social distancing.” In fact, it’s always important to get the right amount of exercise every week, isolation or not. And it has a ton of benefits that might also be helpful during a global pandemic. According to the CDC again, “Physical activity reduces blood pressure and anxiety and helps you sleep better. It can also help to improve mood and energy level.”
The CDC even breaks down how much physical activity is necessary based on age: children from 3 to 5 years need physical activity throughout the day every day, children and adolescents from 6 to 17 years need at least an hour of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity every day, and adults need 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity. (Source: CDC.)
So we know that recreation is important for our moods, energy, and all the anxiety that might come along with a global pandemic at our door. But how can we do it in a way that is safe?
So Is It Safe to Go Swimming During COVID-19?
Feeling cooped up and ready to get that physical activity in a fun, relaxing, and low-impact way? In most cases, swimming does present some risk for transmitting COVID-19, such as at the beach, in public pools, in water play areas, and in small inflatable and plastic pools. This is usually because of interactions out of the water, not in them. But your own residential pool? It couldn’t be more safe, thanks to the sanitizing powers of chlorine and the fact that you’re swimming with your household. We’ll take the win.
Swimming at the Beach—Not Without Risk
Feeling cooped up while social distancing at home, but hearing a lot about how the virus transmits the least outside? You might be itching to take a beach trip, but you’re going to want to get your facts straight before you pack up that umbrella. According to the CDC, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational water. However, the trip itself is not considered risk-free. Even outdoors, it’s essential to stay six feet apart—otherwise, you do face a higher risk of transmission (Source: CDC).
In order to keep the risk of COVID-19 transmission low, it’s important for all beach visitors to stay at least six feet away from people they don’t live with, both in and out of the water. It’s also recommended that you don’t share food, equipment, toys, or supplies with anyone out of your household, as well as wear a mask when you’re not in the water (Source: CDC). It’s not exactly the beach scene we all like to picture, but it is our current reality for keeping each other healthy.
Looking to extend the 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.”
Swimming in Public Pools—Not Without Risk
If you’re here, swimming in public pools probably isn’t what you’re into—you have your own, after all—so I’ll keep this brief. According to the CDC, swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. But unfortunately, not all pools that you have the ability to dive into are alike—proper sanitation and chemical balance are key for keeping pool water free of the bacteria that can transmit COVID-19 to others.
Thankfully, you can test the chemical balance of any body of water you’re considering jumping into, even if it’s not yours. If you are visiting a public pool, use a water test strip to determine that the free chlorine level is at least 1 part per million (ppm) or bromine level is at least 3 ppm, and the pH is 7.2-7.8.
And of course, the same social distancing guidelines apply. Consider whether the pool furniture requires sanitation, and do not share equipment with others not in your household. And if you’re not in the water, you’d better wear a mask (Source: CDC).
Water Play Areas and Interactive Fountains—Not Considered Safe
Although there is no standing water, water play areas and interactive fountains aren’t guaranteed to be safe against viruses. This is because these systems recycle the water—meaning contaminants will be rinsed into the water holding areas, and then recirculated out. Because water play areas and interactive fountains are relatively new, health departments may not have specific regulations for their sanitization, and sometimes they’re built without a sanitization system. As a result, water play areas and interactive fountains have been determined to be the source of pathogenic spreading.
Again, COVID-19 as of now has no evidence for spreading in recreational waters. But given the history here, I’d skip the water play area and interactive fountain. And if you do decide to go, make sure you and your family are practicing social distancing from other households. (Source: CDC).
To keep your sanitizer working, it’s important to shock your pool 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?”
Small Inflatable and Plastic Pools—Not Considered Safe
No, small inflatable and plastic pools are not considered safe from the COVID-19 virus. These pools are typically filled with tap water—which may be treated with a disinfectant for drinking, but is not equipped to properly kill germs introduced into swimming water. Plus, it may not be practical to add chlorine to these small pools, because they lack a filtration system to clear out particles that prevent chlorine from working at its fullest potential. Because of the small size of inflatable and kid-sized plastic pools and the stagnant nature of the water, it’s also difficult to maintain a consistent chlorine dose, or even determine what the proper dose should be.
So although COVID-19 hasn’t been proven to spread in recreational waters, I’d stick to the kiddie pool for kids within the same household only. This is also because it’s difficult to socially distance in a tiny pool—especially with the young ones who sometimes forget we can’t press faces with our friends right now (Source: CDC.)
Swimming in Your Own Pool—Is Considered Safe!
Thanks to the cell structure of the COVID-19 virus, the heavy lifting that chlorine can do, and the fact that you’re probably swimming with your own household, your pool is considered safe from COVID-19—as long as it’s sanitized properly.
The resiliency of virus cells is often measured by their very biological structure, and what it comes down to is simple: if a virus cell is enveloped by an outer membrane, it’s harder to kill. The recent outbreak of coronavirus that yields COVID-19 is non-enveloped, meaning it’s the weakest type of all virus cells—as long as it has a worthy opponent.
That’s where your sanitizer steps in. A healthy dose of chlorine is projected to remove all trace of active coronaviruses, including COVID-19. In fact, the recommended dose of chlorine in swimming pools kills most bacteria—and in under a minute. There’s a reason chlorine is commonly used to sterilize drinking water. It’s a tried and true killer of unwanted pathogens, and the right concentration is safe to interact with, even ingest. The same concept applies to swimming water.
The ideal chlorine combination of your pool should be between 1 and 3 parts per million (ppm). In order to kill COVID-19 and other pathogenic viruses, you’ll want to make sure your chlorine concentration doesn’t fall below 1 ppm (though the World Health Organization recommends as little as .5 ppm). Go above 3 ppm and while you’re sure to wipe out the virus, you’re also vulnerable to irritation in your eyes, nose, lungs, and throat. (Source: CDC.)
If only air itself could be effectively chlorinated—we probably wouldn’t be in this situation today. But at least a swim in our pool, which is good for our bodies and our minds, is also safe from the virus.
What If a Member of My Household Gets Sick?
If someone in your household is sick, it’s not the time for a family-wide swim. Why not? First of all, note that respiratory droplets can likely pass from person to person above water. If your family member has or thinks they might have COVID-19, they could pass it on to you or anyone else—through the air, not pool water.
Secondly, anyone who is sick should be resting. It’s as simple as that. This is a serious and sometimes fatal disease, and everyone who has it should be giving their body the strength it needs to fight it off. (Source: CDC.)
Your pool is definitely safe, but it’s no miracle worker. In other words, it’s not going to heal someone of COVID-19. Nobody should swim when they’re fighting a virus—especially in the company of others (CDC).
Whatever sanitizing chemicals you add to your water don’t just spread evenly on their own. 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 treated. Plus, it comes with a free warranty, is eligible for rebates, and pays itself off in under a year. According to customer Dave Schmidt, “my pool has never looked cleaner!”
Living during a global pandemic is by no means easy, and so little is guaranteed. In order to move through our daily lives, we all calculate the risk that we’re willing to take. Thankfully, when it comes to swimming in your pool, you can be sure that you’re engaging in a safe activity, no risk involved. And these days, that’s something really special. Enjoy.