Keeping pathogens out of pool water
We can all carry pathogens on our bodies, which can wash off and contaminate pool water. Chlorine can kill most pathogens, but it doesn’t kill them straight away. Some parasites, like Cryptosporidium, a single-celled parasite that causes diarrhoea, can survive in pools for days.
We are more likely to be infectious when we are not feeling well. For example, when you have an upset stomach or diarrhoea, there are thousands of pathogens in your faeces and traces on your bottom. These pathogens can wash off and contaminate the pool whenever you swim.
To keep pathogens out of the pool, it is important not to swim with diarrhoea, and for 14 days after your symptoms have passed.
When you have an infection, you should not swim while infectious. For example:
- COVID-19 – stay home and self-isolate, do not attend the pool until you receive a negative test and are free from symptoms
- chickenpox – do not swim for a week after the rash appears
- cryptosporidiosis (crypto) – do not swim for two weeks after diarrhoea stops
- athlete’s foot (tinea) – do not swim until a day after treatment is started
- diarrhoea (unknown cause) – do not swim for two weeks after diarrhoea stops.
You can ask your general practitioner (doctor) for advice about swimming if you or your children are diagnosed with any infection.
If you or your family develop a gastrointestinal illness after swimming at a public pool, contact the pool manager so any potential gastro outbreak can be monitored.
Pool water is not known to transmit COVID-19. The World Health Organisation states that “for a conventional public or semi-public swimming pool with good hydraulics and filtration, operating within its engineered bathing load, adequate routine disinfection … should be sufficient to eliminate enteric pathogens and enveloped viruses, like coronaviruses, which are sensitive to chlorine disinfection.” 
WynActive maintains its pool water in accordance with the Victorian Public Health & Wellbeing Act 2008.
Preventing faecal accidents
Young children may still be learning to control their bowel movements, so parents and supervisors should be extra careful to prevent faecal accidents.
To prevent faecal contamination:
- keep an eye on your children at all times
- take children on toilet breaks every hour and check nappies every 30–60 minutes
- only change nappies in nappy change areas – do not change nappies by the poolside
- non-toilet trained children and incontinent people must wear tight-fitting waterproof nappies
- report any faecal accidents to swimming pool staff