Olivia Rose-Innes is Health24’s EnviroHealth Editor. Read more of her columns and articles or post a question to her expert forum.
"After a year of operations, due to burst appendix and hernia, my
doctor suggested some gentle swimming to stretch the body.
"I joined a
small club and forced myself to slowly swim in the warm water. But this
past month the gym has taken in classes and classes of toddlers from
nearby nursery schools, and I feel I am swimming in kids urine!
being silly? Does the chlorine kill the urine? I just have not been able
to get in the water as it all seems so not clean."
- Reader query from
the EnviroHealth Forum
What lurks beneath the sparkling surface?
Swimming strengthens the body while the water buoys it up and protects
against exercise-related injury, making it a popular and frequently
recommended therapy for people recovering from an injury, operation or
Just about any pool will contain pollutants, although these should be
minimal if the pool is well maintained, as required by law.
If your immune system is compromised, as may be the case if you've been
ill or recently had surgery, you are more vulnerable to infection by
any micro-organisms in the water.
The real nasty: human waste
- Find out when children’s swimming classes are held so that you can avoid them if possible.
- Don’t swallow the pool water, keep your eyes closed underwater, and have a shower immediately after swimming.
- Don't swim if you have any open cuts or sores.
- Don’t spend longer in the pool than you need to do your exercises.
- If you notice any worrisome symptoms, such as rash, diarrhoea or eye
irritation, then definitely stop using the pool until you’ve consulted
- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor. @ORoseInn
Image: Child at pool edge: Shutterstock.