Nothing says summer like a pool full of screaming kids. Unfortunately, splashing around with those kids are billions of microbes, or tiny organisms that can make us sick. These little party crashers catch a ride to the pool on hair, spit, hands, noses, mouths and — most disgustingly of all — pee and poop.
Sicknesses caught from swimming pool water are known as recreational water illnesses (RWIs). The most common of these conditions is diarrhea, which can be caused by a veritable who's who list of nasty germs including Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli. Chlorine helps control these microbes to a point, but they can still survive in the pool for a few minutes or even a few days — plenty of time to find their way into someone's body [source: CDC, RWIs].
Before you toss your swim trunks in a dumpster and cancel your family's pool pass, know that there are some preventive measures you and your kids can take to lessen the chances of infection for everyone. For starters, shower before you get in the pool and don't take a dip if you have diarrhea. Take kids out for bathroom breaks every hour, and if you need to change a diaper, don't do it poolside. Then, just try to swallow as little water as possible, and you can be sure to have a safe and healthy summer!