Can I be completely honest with you?
I want to like public swimming pools, but they give me the creeps.
I want to be free and jauntily throw a towel and some flip flops and a warm change of clothes and zip off to the nearby swimming pool and just be happy and accept my pasty white skin and saddlebags and, sitting side-by-side with Herr Meow, kick my legs in the water and froth it up happily, as we both enjoy the water.
I want to squeal happily and jump into the fine, chlorinated water, and squee and splash and play Marco Polo and do headstands under the water so only my feet poke out.
But then I start to realize that one of the side effects of motherhood for me has been an acute awareness of just how insanely disgusting a swimming pool is.
No, not "can be." Is.
What you cannot catch in the pool: HIV, most viruses, many kinds of bacteria, most fungi.
Sounds good so far, right? I mean, that kind of covers the heebie-jeebie inducers. But not so fast, buckeroo.
What you CAN catch in a pool: Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Mycobacterium marinum and in some cases, pseudomonas. Mmm…. just what I love doing after swimming– throwing up, possibly feeling like I’m peeing razorblades and scratching oozing pustules on my body!
Oh, and let us not forget what Rev. Mom ever so elegantly called corneal edema— a.k.a that weird blurry vision you get when chlorine gets in your eyes. Because, you know, chlorine is kind of not that good for your skin (not that possibly pus-filled pustules or granulomas are, either). After all, if you’re swimming in a chlorinated pool, you’re swimming in low-grade bleach.
Do I want to stop and ponder for a second that you could also get a nasty pus-filled infection in your eye?
I’m cringing too much. I have to count to five before I type some more.
Thank goodness there are cheerful, happy folks like the ones at Water and Health Dot Org, who created a checklist of how to identify a clean pool. Although when I read such helpful hints such as "do not swim when you have diarrhea" I feel the waves of nausea rising in my throat.
You mean that there are people who need to be told they should refrain from swimming when they have major mudbutt???
Shouldn’t there be a basic common sense test administered to all those who frequent swimming pools?
More info? Click here:
And please remember: if you read this but you happen to love swimming in pools, feel free to think I’m just a stupid hypochondriacal weenie who looks fat in her swimsuit.
But don’t forget the Neosporin.