Swimming is such a splendid form of exercise and so perfectly adapted to summer that the increase in swimming pools in all communities is to be welcomed.
Is there any danger from the use of swimming pools? And if so, what should be done to make them safe?
The dangers are very real. It is impossible for a swimmer to prevent secretions from the nose and mouth from being mixed with the water. These are frequently harmless but may be highly infectious.
Every year a number of infectionssinus infections and throat infections, going on to middle ear disease and mastoid disease, especially in children, are ascribed to swimming pools. Undoubtedly some of these are merely coincidences. Undoubtedly also some of them are due to the mechanical effects of swimmingthe water getting in the nose and mouth makes a raw surface, removes the natural secretions and chemistry of those orifices and invites infection.
So far as the ear is concerned, water pressure from swimming under water and diving may make congestive changes or even possibly rupture the ear drums.
But when all these causes are given due weight, there remains the possibility of unlimited cross infection in pools.
Swimming pools, therefore, whether public or private, to be safe must be scientifically managed.
“Caring for a pool is a trade in itself,” writes Orson D. Munn, in the Scientific American, “one requiring attendants who are capable of taking pains and actually interested in doing so. The commodity known as intelligence is also required. Unremitting diligence is demanded. Not every workingman is capable of caring for a pool. In the case of municipal pools local politics may prove as deadly a menace as the well known Bacillus coli.”
The frequent changing of the water in a pool is not sufficient to make it free from danger. Chemical sterilization of swimming pools is best carried out with chlorine gas, one part to a million.
Water thus treated is not dangerous or irritating to any part of the bodyskin, eyes, nose or mouth.