Oh, for Crying Out Loud, Shower Before You Go Swimming, Will Ya?!

Filed under: In The News, Health

Shower Before You Go Swimming

Not showering before swimming puts your children at risk of getting sick. Credit: Corbis

If your kid has diarrhea, he probably shouldn't take a dip in a public pool.

All together now: "Eeeeewwwww!"

You would think that would be common sense. However, researchers at the University of Michigan have found when it comes to swimming pools, many parents are ... what's the clinical term?

Dumber than a bag of hammers!

For instance, if your child has not bathed in a week and uses various body parts as snot rags, you would want him to shower before taking his assorted microbes out for a swim, right?

Sigh. The Grand Rapids Press reports only 26 percent of parents in the study thought all those "shower before you swim" rules posted at community pools were actually serious. On the plus side, 64 percent of them realize pool water is not a beverage, and kids shouldn't go around drinking it.

"Parents seem to understand the risk of contaminated water for their kids, but few have their kids take the necessary preventive steps to keep everyone healthy," Dr. Matthew Davis, who led the national poll on children health, tells the newspaper.

The poll was conducted on behalf of of the University of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital. Some of the results were icky.

What many parents do not apparently know is that showering is crucial to preventing the spread of germs. So is not pooping or peeing in the pool. No, chlorine does not kill every germ that comes its way. Especially cryptosporidium.

If you take a few laps in a pool that doubles as little Stinky McStinkerson's bath and/or toilet water, you could end up with 10 action-packed days of diarrhea, cramping and vomiting from cryptosporidium, George Fogg, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, tells the Grand Rapids Press.

Cryptosporidium has been busy lately, the newspaper reports -- with cases of crypto poisoning increasing from 3,411 cases in 2004 to 10,5000 in 2009.

In people with healthy immune systems, Fogg tells the newspaper, the illness is "self-limiting." Still, it's not a lot of fun.

To avoid unpleasantries in the pool, Fogg says parents need to go back to the old-fashioned notion of making their kids shower before swimming. Oh, and something else.

"You really need to get down into the diaper region," he tells the newspaper. "I don't know how many people do that."

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.