Why Do You Have To Shower Before Getting Into A Pool?
For decades public health officials have been urging people to take a pre-swim shower, but the advice is not always heeded. A recent study conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council revealed that 93% of adults would never use someone else’s used bath water. Still, over 40% don’t think it’s necessary to shower before entering a shared pool. Common misconceptions and a lacking sense of responsibility to other swimmers can overshadow the importance of this hygienic practice, but the reality is that everyone benefits from a pre-pool shower. Below we’ll take a closer look at why, whenever possible, you’ll want to rinse off before diving in.
The health of swimmers is the most important factor in showering before getting into a pool. Most of us don’t want to consider ourselves “unclean,” but the truth is, even trace amounts of various contaminants can add up and make a pool downright unsanitary. Aside from the general “ick factor” of swimming around in someone else’s sweat, lotion, hair products, and deodorant, there can be genuine health concerns associated with coming into contact with such impurities.
Trace amounts of urine and fecal matter, if ingested in swallowed pool water, can lead to a host of health concerns. While chlorine is designed to kill bacteria, it can’t always do so instantaneously or when overwhelmed by water that has become highly saturated with organic matter.
Showering prior to entering the pool, with a focus on cleaning one’s nether regions, reduces swimmers’ risk of exposure to waterborne illnesses such as swimmer’s ear, skin infections, diarrhea, and other stomach bugs. There will always be health risks associated with shared pool water, but these can be greatly minimized by all swimmers washing away impurities before entering the public space.
People often assume that the harsh smell of pool chemicals indicates clean water. This common misconception often lends swimmers a false sense of security when it comes to pool cleanliness. You may be dismayed to hear that the acrid scent of chlorine actually comes from it coming into contact with impurities.
When organics like sweat, oil, urine, hair, skin products, and makeup are introduced to chlorine, they produce the “pool smell” many of us are familiar with. The stronger the smell, the more impurities present. A clean and well-maintained pool should have very little scent at all, and showering away contaminants can help prevent that chemical smell. In short, health concerns aside, a pre-pool shower can help reduce that chemical aroma and lead to a better quality swimming experience for all.
Frequent swimmers know how harsh pool water can be on hair and skin. Particularly if you swim daily, it’s important to take steps to ensure your tresses aren’t stripped of all the natural oils that keep hair soft, shiny, and manageable. If you’re skipping out on a swim cap, saturating your hair with clean, unchlorinated water prior to entering the pool is the simplest protective measure you can take. In fact, it is a crucial step to the perfect pool hair care routine.
When your strands are already soaked in freshwater, your hair is less able to absorb the chemicals found in pool water, helping to prevent its drying and damaging effects. Most public pools have showers available on site, and taking advantage of them before and after swimming in chlorinated water is not only a service to the people around you but an investment in healthy, hydrated hair and skin.