SPECIAL REPORT: What’s swimming in your pool?

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — We know about the dangers of drowning, but when it comes to pool safety, there’s more than meets the eye.

Studies show public pools contain gallons of urine.

Even if no one ever urinates in your pool, you’re likely swimming around with bacteria that has the potential to make you sick.

The main thing that gets in there that people don’t know about are just your typical germs like cryptosporidium, giardia, and E. coli. They usually come in on the bather’s bodies themselves,” said Mike Brown, owner of American’s Swimming Pool Co. in Wilmington.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia will send you running for the bathroom. Cryptosporidium can also give you respiratory problems.

Aside from stomach issues, E. Coli can cause anemia and kidney failure. It can even kill you.

There are, however, several steps you can take before these germs cause any problems.

“The main thing you need to do is test your water frequently,” said Brown. “Make sure you have the proper amounts of chlorine and proper PH level. Those two work together.”

If you’ve had a large crowd in your pool, he also recommends shocking the water with chlorine.

Although you can treat your pool, Brown recommends preventing the bacteria from getting in the water in the first place.

“If all the bathers will take a good hot shower with soap before they get in, you’ll eliminate 99% of what will get in your pool that will cause a problem,” he said.

Experts also recommend changing diapers away from the pool. They also say people experiencing diarrhea shouldn’t get in.

Brown says most treated pools never become a problem, but you should still try to avoid swallowing the water.

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