It’s getting real. The novel coronavirus went from a sensational headline, to a terrifying issue, albeit one across the world, to a danger lurking right in our workplaces and homes. And many public health experts are warning us that at one point, we or a member of our family might contract the virus. The fact is, it’s a possibility. And if it happens to you, you’re not alone.
It’s stressful enough to watch the exponentially-rising number of cases and begin what feels like day one hundred and ninety-seven of self-isolating. However, if you do discover that a family member has COVID-19, you’ll want to take care of them and yourself. By learning more about COVID-19 and how to properly sanitize your pool, having a family member test positive for coronavirus won’t change the fact that you’ll be able to keep swimming—safely.
Here’s a Quick Recap on COVID-19 (As If We Aren’t All Glued to the News).
First, let’s get our terms straight.
Coronavirus is a category of human illness.
COVID-19 virus is the virus that causes the illness COVID-19.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by this particular virus.
SARS-CoV-2 is the official name of the COVID-19 disease.
This coronavirus is particularly dangerous to humans because it’s novel, meaning that we haven’t previously come into contact with it—which also means there’s no vaccine, and we have no resistance to it.
People who contract COVID-19 usually have a fever, a dry cough, and shortness of breath—plus, other symptoms reported include common cold symptoms. If someone with COVID-19 also has difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion or the inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face, chances are they’re not getting enough oxygen. This can be fatal, and it’s imperative that they go to the hospital immediately.
Circulation is everything for a virus-killing pool, and the Variable Speed In Ground Blue Torrent Thunder Pool Pump is the way to go. It’s quiet and cool, pays itself off in under two years of energy saved, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
How Could COVID-19 Actually Transmit in My Household?
Since I’m an expert of pools, I’ll turn to the true pandemic authority, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for this one. From what we know now, the virus does 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.
- Some recent studies have suggested that 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.
Can I Get COVID-19 from My Pool?
No, this coronavirus cannot spread through pools and hot tubs.
Again, we’ll turn to the CDC for the answer. It’s their job, after all. Here’s a direct quote:
“There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfections (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.”
Let’s pay close attention to that second sentence. In order to keep your pool and hot tub removing or inactivating the COVID-19 virus, you want to be sure:
- You’re running your pool pump for the proper amount of time everyday—generally, this is around eight hours.
- Your pool’s cleaning system is in complete working order, meaning you routinely clean the equipment, unclog accumulated debris, and troubleshoot if your pump goes awry or gets its own high temperature.
- Most importantly: you’re properly sanitizing and disinfecting your pool.
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But Chlorine Kills the Virus. So Is It Okay for a Sick Family Member to Swim?
Not so fast. Your pool is definitely safe to swim in, 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 sick, especially in the company of others.
Why not? First of all, note that respiratory droplets can likely pass from person to person above pool water. If your family member has or thinks they might have COVID-19, they could pass it on to you or anyone else in the pool—through the air, not 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.
How Can I Properly Chlorinate My Pool to Kill COVID-19?
This is crucial, and I can’t stress it enough. Your pool will only be safe to swim in if you understand how to properly chlorinate your pool, which I’ve already talked about in detail on the blog. But here’s an abbreviated version:
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. We’re trying to be healthy, remember?
The way you add chlorine to your pool matters. The last thing you want is pockets of water that have very high levels and others that have miserably low levels of chlorine—and will potentially allow COVID-19 to thrive. My preferred method is to put chlorine tablets directly into the pool skimmer (which looks like a basket-lined bucket and is built into the side of the pool). Although the pump needs to be on in order for this method to circulate chlorine properly, variable-speed pool pumps like this model will keep your energy bills low and are the superior option anyway—you can tailor their speed to the specific needs of your pool and they pay themselves off in energy costs saved.
It’s okay if you’re just starting to really get serious about chlorination. As you begin to find what works for you and your pool, check that you have the right chlorine concentration by using pool chlorine test strips regularly.
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And What About Cleaning Those Surfaces?
Yes, the CDC did mention that 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—though it’s probably not the main way the virus spreads.
If your family member is sick with COVID-19, it’s time to get diligent about sanitizing surfaces with which they’ve come into contact. Although your pool water is safe if properly chlorinated, you want to make sure to wipe down your pool rails and other dry surfaces that are frequently touched—including, and perhaps most importantly, the high-use interiors of your house.
We’re in This Together.
This is a terrifying time, but unlike the hazards we face—however unseen—in our everyday lives, the coronavirus crisis has taken the whole world by storm. Whether you’re dealing with the virus in your actual home or just hunkered down in isolation like most of the country, it’s important now more than ever to focus on the moments that give you joy, and be present for these experiences. Thankfully, swimming in your pool is among them.
Stay safe, be well, and whenever possible—enjoy.