Healthy Swimming Year-Round
We typically think about healthy swimming during the summer months when people are swimming in outdoor pools, but it’s not the only time of the year that people spend time in recreational water. Many hot tubs, spas, and indoor pools are open all year. That’s why it’s important to practice healthy swimming all year round.
Stay Healthy in Hot Tubs and Spas
Although soaking in a hot tub is a fun and relaxing activity, water in hot tubs/spas can also spread germs that cause recreational water illnesses (RWIs). The germs spread when a person swallows, breathes in the mists or aerosols of, or has contact with contaminated water. Hot tub and spa users can also get sick from chemicals in the water or chemicals that vaporize from the water and cause indoor air quality problems. Whether you are a hot tub owner or visit one when traveling, it is important to keep these HOT steps in mind: Heed the rules, Observe your surroundings, and Talk to the operator!
Heed… rules for safe and healthy use.
- Don’t swallow hot tub water or let it get into your mouth.
- Don’t use a hot tub if you have diarrhea.
- Don’t let children under age 5 use hot tubs/spas.
- Don’t drink alcohol before or during hot tub use.
- Before entering hot tub, take a shower or bathe with soap.
- Don’t exceed the limit on how many people can be in hot tub at same time.
- If pregnant, consult a healthcare provider before using hot tubs/spas.
Observe the hot tub/spa and its surroundings.
Follow CDC’s steps of healthy swimming while swimming indoors or outdoors.
Observe… the hot tub/spa and its surroundings.
- Water temperature should not exceed 104°F (40°C).
- Check the water for proper disinfectant levels using test strips.
Talk…to hot tub/spa owners, staff, and other users.
- Are chlorine or bromine levels and pH checked at least 2 times per day, during times when the hot tub/spa is most heavily used?
- Talk to owners, staff and users about RWIs and share the above tips with them.
Stay Healthy in Indoor Pools
Swimming in indoor pools can be a great form of exercise, especially during the cold winter months, but indoor pools can also spread illness. In particular, they are more likely to cause irritation of the eyes and throat from a chemical irritant called chloramine. Chloramines form when chlorine combines with nitrogen-containing compounds found in pee, poop, sweat, dirt, and skin cells, all of which come out of or washes off of swimmers’ bodies.
Chloramines in water give off a strong chemical smell and can turn into gas in the air surrounding the pool. This can be problematic for indoor pools, which aren’t as well-ventilated as outdoor pools. Talk to the pool operator if you notice a strong chemical smell when swimming in an indoor pool, and follow CDC’s steps of healthy swimming to help protect yourself and others from the negative health effects linked to chloramines.
For more in-depth information on healthy swimming, go to the Healthy Swimming website.
Remember, healthy swimming is no accident. Think Healthy. Swim Healthy. Be Healthy.
- Page last reviewed: April 23, 2018
- Page last updated: April 23, 2018
- Content source:
- National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs