The Grossest Things You Didn’t Know About Public Pools from The Grossest Things You Didn’t Know About Public Pools

The Grossest Things You Didn’t Know About Public Pools

The summer is here and millions of people are heading out to public swimming pools to cool off and have some fun in the sun.

While swimming in public pools and participating in water related activities are great ways to stay in shape, they have potential health risks as well.

A study by the CDC concluded nearly 8 in 10 public swimming pools failed routine safety inspections, according to the LATimes.

The next public pool you dive in will contain pee and maybe even some fecal matter. You may be at risk for E. coli or Recreational Water Illness.

Educate yourself about the gross things lurking around in public swimming pools and take safety precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.

1 in 5 adults pees in the pool


As crazy as it may seem, many adults have admitted to relieving themselves in public swimming pools. A 2012 survey conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council found that one in five U.S. adults urinates in the pool.



Giardia is a germ that causes diarrhea. It’s found in the fecal matter of a person who has been infected by it. It is spread by swallowing water and it has a tough outer shell that allows it to survive for up to 45 minutes, even in properly chlorinated pools, according to the cdc.

There is certain bacteria that is resistant to chlorine


Cryptosporidium is an infectious bacteria that is not easily killed by chlorine. It can cause gastroenteritis outbreaks. According to research, “a total of 78 recreational water-associated outbreaks, affecting 4,412 people, were reported from 2005 to 2006, which is the largest number of outbreaks reported in a two-year period.”



Also known as Recreational Water Illness, it is caused by the spreading of germs in contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs and water parks. According to the CDC, RWIs can also be caused by chemicals in the water or chemicals that evaporate from the water, which in turn cause indoor air quality problems. They can cause a number of health problems, some of which include gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory, eye, ear, neurologic and wound infections.

People swim without bathing


Many people swim without bathing first. This can cause a number of bacteria’s to spread throughout the water. When they don’t shower before swimming they may release feces particles, pee chemicals and sweat, which can all cause a number of health issues.

There is probably poop in the water


According to a study by the CDC, feces are frequently introduced into pool water by swimmers. They found germs in samples of pool filter water collected from public pools. This can cause E. coli bacterium to spread throughout the water, which in turn, causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.



We have seen it before - we’re swimming in a public pool when all of a sudden we see a floating Band-Aid. When you have an open wound, it is strongly advised to stay clear of pools. People with open wounds could spread harmful bacteria to other swimmers. Other germs in the water can also worsen your wound and cause infection.

People have sex


Some people just have no shame; they think sex in a public swimming pool is acceptable when, it reality, no one wants to swim in your bodily fluids. Not to mention that lack of natural lubrication can make condoms more likely to break or slip off.

Chlorine is not turning your eyes red


You know that stingy feeling you get in your eyes when you’re in a public swimming pool? Your eyes turn red and you assume it’s from the chlorine. The truth is that they are actually being affected by urine. According to the National Swimming Pool Foundation, when chlorine in pool water combines with pee, poop and sweat, chemical irritants called chloramines are produced. These chloramines give off a chemical odor that cause eyes to get red and sting.

E. Coli


According to a 2013 study by the CDC, “58 percent of the pool filter samples tested were positive for E. coli, bacteria normally found in the human gut and feces. The E. coli is a marker for fecal contamination.” This can be due to swimmers having a fecal incident in the water or when feces rinse off of their bodies because they did not shower before entering the water.

The chemical smell of a pool does not mean that it’s clean


Many people believe that the strong chemical smell in pools is a sign that there is too much chlorine in the water. The truth is that it’s actually a sign that there is not enough chlorine in the water. The chemical combined with people’s bodies, urine and feces give off this strong odor. They use up all of the chlorine and the pool is actually less likely to kill off germs.

You can get a hot tub rash


A hot tub rash is a skin infection that is caused by entering a badly maintained hot tub. It is often due to an infection with the germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa and causes itchy spots on the skin that become a bumpy red rash and pus-filled blisters around hair follicles, according to the CDC.

Swimmers ear


Swimmers ear is a result of irritation or infection. It occurs when water gets trapped in your ear and it spreads bacteria. Coming in contact with bacteria in public pools contributes to swimmers ear. It is strongly advised to stay out of the water of you are suffering from this condition, as it can worsen your systems and you can potentially spread the bacteria from your ear to others in the water.

The chemicals are dangerous


According to WebMD, a study has shown that swimmers have detectable levels of the potentially dangerous chlorine by-product haloacetic acids (HAAs) in their urine within 30 minutes of swimming. HAA occurs when chlorine reacts with impurities in the water. Swallowing this dangerous chemical in high amounts may be linked to birth defects and cancer.



Floating across the bottom of the pool, a disgusting ball of hair. Not only that just plain gross, but the hair mixed up in that ball can be from a person who suffers from a bacterial infection – folliculitis, furuncles, carbuncles.