The spread of COVID-19 has caused closures of businesses all across the country. This includes gyms and public pools. The goal is to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19. This virus is predicted to affect millions. With all the conflicting information in the media right now, it can be hard to know what to believe. Read what the experts say about COVID-19 and swimming pools.
Can COVID-19 be transmitted by water?
This is a respiratory virus which means it is transmitted through droplets of mucus and saliva. These droplets are only expelled through coughing and sneezing. The droplets travel unnoticed to another person allowing the virus to enter their nose, mouth, or eyes.
At this time, this is believed to be the only method of transmission at this time. Research continues to look into transmission methods but there is no evidence that the virus can travel through water.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also released a statement that COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water. The standard water treatment methods used for drinking water should be able to remove any sign of the virus should it get into the water.
Can chlorine kill the virus?
Pool owners want to know if the chlorine in their pool will kill COVID-19. A normal amount of chlorine will kill the virus. This is only if your pool water is regularly maintained. The chemicals used to clean your pool are disinfectants and can work against the virus. At this time nothing indicates that the virus can spread through pool water or hot tubs to people.
Can I go swimming?
Swimming is probably the safest activity to do right now. Assuming you can find a pool. Pools that are public or part of a gym are likely closed. If you have your own pool, and it is properly maintained, swimming is safe. Public pools are not considered safe because of risks for exposure on your way to the pool. Doors, lockers, benches, showers can all be a risk for contamination.
Evidence is showing that COVID-19 clings to surfaces like plastic and steel for up to three days.
It can also hang in air droplets called aerosols for thirty minutes. It then settles onto a surface that you can touch. The risk of transmission through surfaces is generally low, but you should still be cautious. You can reduce the risk by regularly washing your hands and practicing good hygiene.
Since swimming laps at a public pool is not an option, you can safely swim at home. Theoretically, if you could go swim laps alone in a pool, without touching any surfaces or coming into contact with another person, a public pool would be an option. But a risk exists so the local agencies have made the decision easy for you by closing public facilities.
What about swimming in open water?
You can, of course, brave open waters for your daily swim. The virus is not a concern in open waters. The flow and dilution of larger bodies of water keep it safe. However, you may end up very cold. You can swim alone as there will not be a person within 6 feet of you. If this is your only option for swimming, take care, wear the right swimming suit, and proceed with caution.
What does it mean to “flatten the curve”?
This phrase simply means a reduction in the number of cases. The goal is to slow the spread of the virus. We need to keep hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with cases. Healthcare workers can better help and treat those affected if their resources are not stretched so thinly. If the hospital and ICU beds are full and resources are low, nurses and doctors will have fewer abilities to save people.
Healthcare workers themselves are at great risk every day. We need to reduce the stress placed on them as much as possible. When people are tired, they make mistakes. These are people we do not want to make mistakes right now. So they need your support. You need to do your part to flatten the curve for them and others.
It becomes difficult to know who to treat when hospitals get overwhelmed. Who gets life-saving treatment and who doesn’t. We are currently not equipped to handle a mass-infection, so we need to slow the spread.
You can flatten the curve by:
Washing your hands frequently, particularly after being in public, or after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds each time. If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick or who may have been exposed to the virus. Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
Stay home if you’re sick. If you develop symptoms or think you may have been exposed to the virus, call your healthcare provider for advice. Do not go directly to the office or the emergency room.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands thoroughly.
If you are sick and must go out in public, wear a face mask. If you are not sick, skip the face mask so that more supplies will be available to healthcare workers and others that really need them.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Use rubbing alcohol, diluted bleach, and hydrogen peroxide if the disinfectant is not available.
The coronavirus is serious and quickly became a global threat. Things are slowing down, businesses are closing, and people have to stay inside. This doesn’t mean you have to become a couch potato. Exercise will be a good way to calm the nerves during these uncertain and stressful times. If you do not have access to a pool, try a new form of fitness. Running, walking, cycling, yoga, and weight lifting are all great. If you can swim and have a well-maintained swimming pool at home, then know the water is safe to swim.