The swimming season is here in Grand Junction, the pool is open, but Mesa County Public Health has a warning for swimmers - don't drink the water.

Of course, nobody goes into a swimming pool with the intention of drinking the water, right? But, it's nearly impossible to not ingest at least a small amount of water during your time in the pool. Most of the time, kids and adults alike, go swimming in a public pool and have no issues, but the threat of illness is always there.

Benefits and Risks of Swimming

This week is Healthy and Safe Swimming Week and Mesa County Public Health is touting the physical benefits of swimming and at the same time, warning swimmers about the risk of illness when they go.  Swimming is a great way to engage in physical activity that can benefit your health. Grand Junction's Lincoln Park pool opened this past weekend. With the Memorial Day holiday weekend approaching and the weather warming up, the pool is going to be a popular destination.

MCPH says a number of germs that are transmitted through poop can make swimmers sick if they swallow a mouthful of contaminated water. Outbreaks of water illness caused by germs like Legionella, E. coli, Pseudomonas, and Cryptosporidium do happen across the country, though outbreaks aren't all that common.  Between the years 2000 and 2014,  approximately 500 outbreaks were connected to pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds across the country.

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Here's Something You Don't Want To Think About

Believe it or not, most people have a small amount of poop on their bodies at any given time. Typically, it's about 0.14 grams - an amount similar to a few grains of sand. If someone who is sick with diarrhea gets in the water, that small amount of poop can get into the water and contaminate it with germs. Fortunately, most germs are quickly killed by chlorine or bromine, however, Crypto can survive for several days in properly treated water.

Prevention is the Best Remedy

Following a handful of safety tips and precautions can help keep you and others safe this summer when you're at the pool. Mesa County Public Health offers these common-sense guidelines.

  • Don't swim if you are sick - especially with diarrhea.
  • Don't swallow pool water.
  • Shower before you swim.
  • Treat your home pool or hot tub with the proper chemicals.

It may be reassuring to you to know that Mesa County Public Health inspects all pools and spas in Mesa County each year. The swimming season is here, so go ahead and enjoy -- but do it safely. Try not to think about the poop that is potentially in the pool - and definitely don't drink the water.

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