Before jumping into your neighborhood pool this summer, you might reflect on Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Lochte's confession that he peed in the pool during warm-ups and Michael Phelps' agreement that the practice is common during training.
No Olympians in your pool? Turns out around 20 percent of most swimmers admit they've peed in the pool!
Whatever the number, the big question is: Does chlorine, used to disinfect most pools, KO all the germs that are deposited in such a great Petri dish? Well, the answer is yes ... mostly.
But the diarrhea-causing parasite cryptosporidium (which comes from intestinal leakage) can survive in a well-maintained pool for days! And a chemical reaction between chlorine, urine and sweat produces trichloramine, which can cause breathing problems.
Another volatile chemical produced by urine and chlorine is the neurotoxin cyanogen chloride. Not something you necessarily want to soak in, but it takes more than a pool party of 12-year-olds to weaponize pool water.
So how can you tell if your pool or hot tub is pee-luted? The strong pool-water smell? Nope. That's the aroma of chloramines, not a sign of clean water (a common myth).
Here are some tips for a cleaner splash:
-Buy simple dip-and-check test strips that measure bacteria levels and check the effectiveness of total bromide or total and free chlorine in the water.
-Everyone showers BEFORE jumping in.
-Make sure all infants are clean and have waterproof diapers.
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate