Warm water health warning issued
Pool and spa specialist Swimart is urging pool and spa owners to keep water properly chlorinated to avoid contacting amoebic meningitis, which occurs on the surface of warm water. While rare, it is nearly always fatal if water containing active amoebae goes up a person’s nose.
The call comes after an NSW Health professional issued a warning for people to exercise caution when swimming in poorly maintained or untreated swimming pools and spas.
“Any unchlorinated water supply that seasonally exceeds 30°C or continually exceeds 25°C may be a risk,” said Dr Jeremy McAnulty, Director of Health Protection at NSW Health.
“Shallow wading pools are particularly at risk if they have been left in the sun for a long time,” he said.
Tony Arbidans, head of Swimart’s National Advisory Committee, says it’s important to be even more vigilant when chlorinating pool and spa water while also maintaining “best-practice habits”.
“Warm water is a breeding ground for nasties — especially during heatwave conditions — so properly chlorinated pool and spa water will ensure you stay safe this summer,” he explained. “It’s important to remember that your chlorine requirements will be affected by a range of factors, including your pump and filter system, water temperature, water level, amount of debris and the number of swimmers in your pool.”
The best way to avoid infections that breed in warm water is:
- Check pH and chlorine levels twice daily during hot weather.
- Avoid jumping or diving into warm pool or spa water.
- Keep your head above water in spas, thermal pools and warm swimming pools.
- Ensure swimming pools and spas are adequately chlorinated and properly maintained.
- Empty and clean portable wading pools after use.
- Flush warm water from hoses before using to top up pool water levels.
“A well-maintained swimming pool, combined with common-sense habits, will ensure you and your family have fun in the water throughout summer,” Arbidans said.
“However, if you are unsure about the quality of your pool or spa water, take a sample from elbow deep into your nearest pool specialist for diagnostic testing.”
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