Health experts warn swimming pools can cause illness - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Health experts warn swimming pools can cause illness

Albany -- Afternoon showers are causing problems for people with swimming pools. Many of them are having problems keeping their water clean, and health experts say they need to be cautious, because they can be a threat to your health.

 Many South Georgia pools look these days have cloudy green water, with signs of algae growing on the bottom and sides. Health experts say water like this is an invitation for an illness. Southwest District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant said "you can not swim without swallowing some water, you may be swallowing contaminated water."

Pool chemical supply stores report high sales of chlorine and algaecides, as owners try to keep their pool water clean. Mullins Pools is testing pool water and giving cure advice dozens of times a day.

Afternoon thundershowers pick up debris as they move, and dump it in pools with the rain.  Mullins Pools Owner Lee Mullins said "lightning produces nitrogen, which causes part of fertilizer. It falls into your pool, and causes algae to grow profusely."

 People are also having to cut their lawns a lot because of the rain, and if that grass gets in your pool, it also becomes food for algae growth. Mullins said "if you notice your pool turns a solid green overnight, and you just had your yard edged and blown off, you need to look at that."

Health experts say contaminated water germs can quickly spread illness. Dr. Grant said "we are mostly talking about diarrhea illnesses, from E-coli, Giardia, Shigella, those type of organisms."

 Dr. Grant says most water borne illnesses will go away, but if they persist see a Doctor.

Mullins says pool owners need to continue treating their pool after rainstorms.   "Go ahead and shock it with a larger dose of chlorine than they are normally accustomed to, to prevent it. Also they make products that remove phosphates from the pool, and if phosphates are not in the pool, algae can't grow."

Mullins also recommends running your pool pump 24 hours a day during these rainy periods, to keep it filtered.

If you let young children in your pool, Dr. Grant says you need to check their diapers frequently to avoid pool contamination.