Diseases From Swimming Pools

If a swimming pool isn’t properly cleaned, can it make swimmers sick? Today we’re going to examine some diseases which are inherent to pools which aren't cleaned well, or in which swimmers haven’t taken precautions.

One minute before swimming should be enough!

One minute before swimming should be enough!

If pool cleaning is neglected, bacteria can grow and form slime, also known as biofilm. Pseudomonas and Legionella can live in slime. Even worse, slime can protect these bacterias from disinfectants, so it’s essential to treat slime.


Legionella is responsible for a type of pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease. It is a lung infection which generally affects people who are older or have compromised immune systems. Legionnaires’ disease can cause nausea, vomiting, high fever, muscle pains, and fever in addition to respiratory symptoms,


Pseudomonas is responsible for skin and ear infections. Skin disorders are often called ‘hot tub rash.’ Glendale Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist Dr. Ravi Agarwal describes the odor of a bad Pseudomonas ear infection as, “the sweet smell of zombie death.’ Often, the infection is mild. But sometimes, it can cause a severe infection or even death.


Cryptosporidium, or, Crypto for short, is a parasite which can survive in even a well-maintained pool. It is the leading cause of water-borne diseases. Crypto is a diarrheal disease caused when someone who is sick with diarrhea swims in a pool. Healthy kids and adults who become infected with Crypto suffer from cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea for weeks following an outbreak. Symptoms begin 2-10 days following exposure. A patient will rally, but then symptoms may worsen again.

How to fight back

As the reader may have surmised, a meticulously clean pool is the first step in keeping swimmers healthy. If a homeowner doesn’t have the time or skill, a pool pro can help.

Here are some other tips:

  • A homeowner should make provisions for guests to have the means to shower before and after swimming. Even a one minute shower before swimming will remove most dirt from a swimmer.
  • Everyone who swims in the pool should also be careful to not swim for two weeks if they have had diarrhea.
  • No one should swallow any pool water.
  • Everyone should take a bathroom break at least once per hour. Never change diapers next to the pool: go to the diaper-changing area.
  • Use a test strip to determine if a pool’s chlorine and pH level are acceptable. If you aren’t a pool owner, you can get those free from the Water Quality & Health Council. Order them here

We know you want to have a safe pool and keep your family safe when you are our swimming in public pools. With these tips, everyone can swim safely.

If you need pool maintenance for your Phoenix, Arizona pool or spa, call us here at Serenity Pools. Our services include new installation set-up, professional maintenance of pools and spas, water features, and fountains. Call today! 480-370-0579.