MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A new national survey shows more than half of Americans use a swimming pool as a communal bathtub.
"They forget to think that the bacteria that the pool is trying to take care of is the bacteria that comes in on their bodies," Dr. Chris Wiant said.
Dr. Wiant, who serves as the Water Quality & Health Council Chair, says results show people are swimming in pool instead of showering.
The issue is that pool chemistry can be altered by sweat, dirt and personal care products which can also lessen the amount of chlorine available to kill germs.
"You get other bi-products as a result of those reactions that create what are called chloramines and that creates the burning eyes that you get in the pool and sometimes that odor," Dr. Wiant said.
Dr. Wiant says if you're sick you should stay away from the pool. And if you have to use the restroom – get out of the pool.
The Tennessee Department of Health says nearly 500 outbreaks of illness were linked to pools, hot tubs, spas and water playgrounds in the U.S. from 2000-2014.
Another thing to keep in mind is having a designated active water watcher to help prevent drownings.
Susan Helms with Le Bonheur Children's Hospital says they see about 40 children every year with near drowning experiences.
"Not be on the cell phone, not be talking to anybody else, but be three feet away from the kids so if they are in danger, if they need your help, you're right there," she said.
Other ways to stay safe is to check the pool’s latest inspection score before going in, shower before going swimming, and don’t swallow water.