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Swimming in unhealthy pools may land you in hospital

Greg McGarry from PoolWerx testing the water at the Allegra Mercure apartments.
Greg McGarry from PoolWerx testing the water at the Allegra Mercure apartments. Alistair Brightman

FRASER Coast pool owners have been warned of the risk of health problems after a survey showed many neglect important pool maintenance.

A national survey by swimming pool company Poolwerx revealed 40% of Aussie pool owners neglect necessary pool work during swimming season, which could lead to serious ear problems.

St Stephen's Hospital ear, nose and throat specialist David Mcintosh said unhealthy bacteria in pools could put people in hospital.

"Some patients who swam in unclean pools developed 'otitis externa' which is an inflammation of the outer part of the ear caused by bacteria in the water and fungal infection," he said.

While minor infections can be treated by antibiotics and anti-fungal drops, in some cases it needs more serious medical attention.

"In some cases, serious infections can cause damage to the ear drum," he said.

"With bacterial infection, sometimes it can spread through the skin and from the skin, it can get into the bones of the skull and that tends to happen in people who have poor immune system."

Dr Mcintosh stressed the need to clean pools regularly and correctly.

"Even pools that look superficially clean can cause serious damage to one's ears so it's important to correctly maintain the cleanliness of your pool," he said.

Greg McGarry, who owns Poolwerx Fraser Coast, said the survey found a further 57% of owners experienced a "green pool" in the past 12 months.

"A green pool was a clear indicator that a pool wasn't getting the attention it needs and that's why it's vital to get your water tested once every week by a technician during summer," he said.

"Even if a pool looked clean, it still could have bacteria in it. A single bacteria could double every 15 minutes and in three hours you could have 4000 bacteria."

Six tips for pool maintenance

  1.  Check pool equipments for problems and don't be afraid to upgrade as it could save you money down the track.
  2.  Ensure the pH level is within a healthy level of between 7.2 and 7.6.
  3.  Chlorinate the pool to ensure chlorine levels remain at 2-3 PPM to disinfect all microorganisms.
  4.  Make sure pool fence and gate are secure and have an updated CPR chart to ensure everyone's safety in and around the pool.
  5.  Vacuum and skim the pool regularly to remove debris that allows algae to thrive.
  6.  Organise regular professional check-ups to ensure healthy, clean pool water throughout the year.

Topics:  hervey bay maryborough risk survey swimming pools



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