Should You Wear a Mask While Swimming During COVID-19?

When a global pandemic is underway, even what seem like small details can determine illness or health. Who would’ve guessed this time last year that hand sanitizer would soon be selling for hundreds of dollars online due to shortages? Or that six feet would be the magic distance we’d all have memorized? Or that face masks would be recommended, so when we see our friends from a distance, we’d get used to just seeing their eyes? For now, the world is just different than it ever was—and since scientists are still learning more about the behavior of the COVID-19 virus every day, it’s important to stay posted on new developments.

But wearing a mask while swimming? That’s not something you need to add to your routine to stay safe. In fact, it’s highly discouraged. I’ll make sure we’re on the same page when it comes to the virus, revisit how it spreads and why masks are essential (out of the water!), and explain why swimming can be safe—yes, without a mask. Let’s go. 

COVID-19: Revisiting the Basics

I’m an expert when it comes to pools, but Dr. Fauci I am not. So I’ll be citing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for every fact. They’re the national health authority, and it just doesn’t get more credible than that. So let’s revisit the basics with the actual experts.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the COVID-19 virus, which is officially named SARS-COV-2. The CDC reports that anyone with COVID-19 can have mild to severe symptoms—that means no matter what your age or health condition. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus, or not at all. People with the following symptoms may have COVID-19: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell. sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. The CDC reports that this may be an incomplete list. 

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.

Keep your sanitizer working at its highest capacity by switching to a powerful automatic cleaner that works on its own to keep your pool sparkling clean. Look no further than 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.”

New Findings on 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: 

1.     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. This is considered the main way the virus spreads. 

2.     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. This is not considered the main way the virus spreads. 

3.     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. 

So although the most documented way the virus spreads is through airborne respiratory droplets, and the less documented way the virus spreads is through droplets on surfaces, it’s also highly possible that respiratory droplets in some cases can remain suspended in the air over time, as well as travel distances beyond six feet. Yikes. 

Relax as Much as You Can: Recreation is Recommended

Feeling a little stressed out about the virus? You’re not alone. It would be difficult enough to come to terms with the fear of something happening to our loved ones. But even the new (and necessary) structure of our daily lives is a breeding ground for stress. The CDC reports that “public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.” Glad to know it’s not just me.

So we’re stressed, and that much is for sure. But what on earth can we do about it? In the same report the CDC states, “Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.” It would be counterintuitive to deal with an unhealthy situation in an unhealthy way. Anyone else spent a little too much time doom-scrolling about vaccine rollouts this week?

The CDC has recently highlighted exercise as one healthy way to cope with the stress that comes with the COVID-19 pandemic. They recommend regular exercise as part of taking care of your body, and also advise that we all make time to unwind. Exercise reduces blood pressure and anxiety, and helps you sleep better—boosts that we all probably need around now. 

It comes as no surprise that the CDC advises that we get physical activity at or near our homes during the pandemic. They also report that “it’s possible—and important—to be physically active while social distancing.” Exercise might be healthy, but that doesn’t mean you should put yourself unnecessarily at risk of contracting the virus. That just wouldn’t make sense, would it?

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?”  

Your Swimming Pool Water is Safe from COVID-19 

I think we agree that physical activity is just not as relaxing when we feel like we’re putting our lives on the line. It’s one of the many reasons why your pool should be your personal gym during COVID-19—as a pool owner, you get all the benefits of exercise without any of the risks of contracting the virus. Swimming is one of the best exercises in any global situation: it gives you a full-body workout, has a lower chance of negative impact or injury on your body, makes you more flexible, strengthens your heart, and keeps you cool during the warm months (and warm during cooler months, as long as you live in the right place and have the right energy-saving heat pump). 

There are a few reasons why your swimming pool water is considered safe from the COVID-19 virus, even in the possibility that the virus is introduced to your water. The main points you should know are that there’s no evidence COVID-19 can transmit in water and sanitizer is well-documented to wipe out similar viruses, as well as COVID-19 itself. 

COVID-19 Can’t Transmit in Swimming Pool Water

According to (you guessed it) the CDC, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to humans through the use of recreational waters. This finding was only released after the better part of a year of testing and research— while it seems proven enough for the CDC to report, they also make it clear that this is as much as we know at this time.

The Sanitizing Powers of Chlorine and Bromine

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. Even so, this is an especially important time to stay on top of your chlorine or bromine levels, just in case there are any other viruses or harmful bacteria present in your water. No use being compromised by another illness during a global pandemic. Got it? 

Swimming in Public Pools vs. Your Own 

Even though the water itself is safe, swimming in public pools is considered a more risky than swimming in your own. In order to understand why that is, it’s important to remember that no matter how much you love swimming, you’re a human, not a fish. In other words, we need to breathe in the air. If only we could breathe in water—this pandemic probably wouldn’t exist in the first place. 

Consider what happens when you go to a public pool. Unfortunately, you can’t go straight to that safe water. First, you have to move through the air and interact with dry surfaces. While in the water, you have to steer clear of other swimmers—which might be difficult if the pool you’re using has a lot of children playing games, instead of adults swimming laps in separated lanes. And don’t forget the locker room: often a small, cramped space without a lot of ventilation. Many times, public pools can be crowded, which can lead to close contact. If it’s an indoor pool, it might also be a closed space. Let’s just say these are all factors to be avoided, especially when we consider yet again how the CDC reported the virus spreads. 

On the other hand, when you’re swimming in your own pool with members of your household, life is easier—even when you do up your pool cleaning regimen. You don’t have to worry around wearing a mask out of the water, not touching pool rails, and staying far away from other swimmers. It’s considered a perfectly healthy and perfectly safe way of bonding with your family and destressing from this wild global event. When you don’t have to worry about taking a calculated risk, it’s a whole lot easier to relax.

To keep your 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.” 

But a Mask? Not for Swimming!

Wearing a mask has proven to be beneficial in most settings, but inside the pool isn’t one of them. As the CDC helpfully notes, it is difficult to breathe through a wet mask. While you should be wearing one while out of the water, don’t wear a mask while you swim. It’s as simple as that.

Stay Smart, and Stay Safe!

While there is so much that isn’t certain, we do know that the pandemic will eventually end. Until then, it’s important to take care of yourself and your body. Thankfully, having your own pool makes it a lot easier to relax. Hang in there, and enjoy.

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