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Reducing coronavirus spread at the pool

Frank Esper, MD, has tips for reducing the spread of COVID-19 at public pools this summer.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — School is out and kids are eager for summertime fun, but this year will look different due to COVID-19.

Frank Esper, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s said if you’re making a splash at a community or hotel pool, the water shouldn’t be an issue.

“Coronavirus spreads mainly through the air on tiny droplets. It is unlikely that this is going to be going through the water,” said Dr. Esper. “The water from pools should not lead to spread of coronavirus, except for the fact that pools bring a bunch of people together in one small area.”

Experts say pools should be well maintained, including disinfection with chlorine or bromine.

Chlorinated pool water kills viruses, and should inactivate coronavirus. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.

All high-touch areas like handrails, lounge chairs, slides and restroom facilities should be regularly disinfected by pool personnel.

Many pools now have occupancy limits to reduce crowd size, but you’ll want to practice social distancing and stay six feet away from others in and around the pool.

Also, remember to wash or sanitize your hands after touching commonly used areas like the restroom, door handles or railings.

And don’t forget to bring a mask.

“If you’re lounging outside on the pool deck or on the side of a pool, wearing a mask is probably a good idea when you’re not swimming,” Dr. Esper said. “We do not recommend you wear a mask while swimming or playing in the water.”

Dr. Esper said because public pools bring groups of people together and usually draw children, they’re probably not the best place to hang out this summer if you’re considered high risk for COVID-19.

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