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CDC Research Shows Majority Of Public Pools Contaminated By Feces

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(Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

(Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Summer is on the horizon, and soon, city pools will be opening up for the season.

But there’s some disgusting new research you might want to consider before you dive in.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 58% of water samples from public pools tested positive for E. coli, bacteria commonly found in human feces.

The CDC says its findings indicate that swimmers are contaminating the water either through “fecal incidents” in the pool, or because they haven’t showered properly and the germs remain on their body when they enter the water.

And there’s not just poop in the pool; 59% of water samples also tested positive for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause skin rashes and ear infections.

If that information’s not enough to keep you out of the water, the Center has some guidelines for staying safe and preventing infections while swimming:

-Do not swim when you have diarrhea.

-Shower with soap before you start swimming.

-Take a rinse shower before you get back into the water.

-Take bathroom breaks every 60 minutes.

-Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet or changing diapers.

-Check the chlorine level and pH before getting into the water.

-Pools: Proper chlorine (1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]) and pH (7.2–7.8) levels maximize germ-killing power.

-Most superstores, hardware stores, and pool-supply stores sell pool test strips.

-Do not swallow the water you swim in.

-Take children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check diapers every 30–60 minutes.

-Change diapers in the bathroom or diaper-changing area and not at poolside where germs can rinse into the water.

And if it’s any consolation, the CDC says that while fecal matter was present in the majority of samples, none of the water tested contained the specific E. coli strain that causes illness.

To see the CDC’s entire report, visit: www.cdc.gov/mmwr

For guidelines on healthy swimming, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming

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