What Is the Risk of RWI’s at a Campground Pool

Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs found in the pool water. They are spread by swallowing and breathing in mists or aerosols or having contact with contaminated water in community swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, public water play areas, and even lakes. With summer vacation coming and the chances of using a community pool or spa as a family, a Campsite is likely. What is the risk of Recreational Water Illness (RWIs) at Campground Pool?

The risk of RWIs from a pool is a concern, especially with kids, call ahead to the Campground for information on the Pool’s Certification & Health Dept. Inspections. Buy & use Pool Test Strips to ensure the Pool is maintaining Free Chlorine & PH. Check the pool water yourself and know what’s safe and what’s not.

With crowded pools and warmer temperatures, RWIs are more prevalent than you know, especially with the popularity of water parks and the water rides that are being added to Campgrounds. They make for a great Camping vacation during the summer if you use some precautions

Swimming Pool Illness Symptoms

Diarrheal Illness is the most common illness that is prevalent in swimming pools. If a swimmer has had diarrhea in the last two weeks then that person stands to infect everyone else that uses the pool with germs. The main cause of this infection is a germ called Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus, and E. coli. These bacteria can live for minutes and up to days in a well-maintained swimming pool no matter how clean it looks.

Recreational Water Illness | Disease or Condition of the Week | CDC “Hot Tub Rash” is an illness that is caused by (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) which is a germ that lives in dirt. The rash occurs when the person in the pool has contact with it for long periods of time. The symptoms look like bumpy red spots and are normally worse where the swimmer is wearing a bathing suit and is covered up. They could last a few days.

Ear Infections come from being underwater and leaving the water that is contaminated in your ear for a few days afterward. It is sometimes referred to as “Swimmers Ear”  or your Doctor will call it otitis externa, Symptoms show up within a couple of days and the person’s ear will itch and swell and the itch will turn to pain when any pressure is placed on the ear.

I had one of these guys when I was a kid and the Doctor’s treatment is not so pleasant either. Respiratory Infections are another risk that the swimmer faces by breathing steam or mist from the pool or hot tub.

A respiratory disease caused by the germ Legionella is one of the most frequent waterborne diseases (drinking water and recreational water)

Chemical Irritation in the Eyes and Lungs is caused by a by-product of chlorine and the sweat off the swimmer’s bodies (Nitrogen) that create chloramines that you may find in your swimming pool. If you are thinking of using the swimming pool at the campsite this year, you may want to take a whiff of it first.

If you smell chlorine coming from the pool and there are a lot of people using it, you may want to put it on hold and keep the kids out. Chloramines are what you are most likely smelling. A well-maintained swimming pool won’t have a strong chlorine odor coming from it.

Chlorine mixes with the nitrogen coming off the people in the pool and creates a gas that is a lower form of chlorine.

There are some infections that according to the (CDC)-the Center for Disease Control say don’t come from the swimming pools but will come from sharing towels or hair brushes at the poolside. So don’t let your kids share towels or brushes with other kids at the pool.


RWI’s Risk


Children and Pregnant women along with the elderly are at risk from RWIs. People receiving chemotherapy and people suffering from the Aids virus can develop RWI faster and can be affected worse than healthy people.

People that suffer from any immune deficiency should not swim in a public pool or use the spa. It’s not good practice for people that are ill, to begin with, to take the chance of encountering Crypto bacteria.

It’s in the poop my friend and the fact is, the dirtier the people are in the pool and most likely people that have been camping in the summer are probably pretty dirty. then,  the more likely the swimming pool water is dirty too.

Chlorine kills mostly everything and most bacteria but Crypto can hang around for a while before the chlorine can get to it. Pools are troubled, never mind Spa that is not maintained by experts in the water treatment business, to begin with.

Most likely the operators are Kids working at the Campground for the summer until school starts again. They’re probably working off a list that someone gave them. It’s Just the way it is. throw in the heat in August and the number of campers trying to cool off and it’s more like a bowl of soup.


Should You Shower Before & After Swimming

What Diseases Can You Get From a Swimming Pool

Most County Health Departments and related agencies in most states, develop programs to help ensure swimmers and aquatics staff stay healthy and safe. Previously, agencies had to start from scratch and had to do their own research to develop or update pool codes. Things are different than when I was a kid.

There are codes in each State and County that inspect and certify public pools and the Spa. There are a few ways for a camper to check the pool’s condition and safety record. I would and I have, especially with kids. You know kids will stay in the pool until you pack up the car and leave.

Before you stay at an advertised Campground that features a public pool and sauna in their brochure, ask the person that you are making reservations about the pool’s certification and licenses. Who takes care of the pool?  Do they have a Certificate or License? and if the County Health Department inspects it. If their answer is yes it’s inspected once a year at the opening, then you know that at the very least they must have a lifeguard and the pool must be somewhat clean. Before you go on vacation, I’m very serious about this.

Go to a pool supply or Hardware store and buy a Pool Test Kit. Or even better buy a tester through Amazon and keep it in your purse. Get the Strip testing color comparison charts. they will stay good for the summer as long as you keep them dry.  They come with instructions and are easy to read. This one is easy to ready and comes calibrated  Solaxx MET01A SafeDip Digital Test Meter for pH, Chlorine, Salt, and Temperature

Using a new reliable test kit you’ll know for sure, that when your kids get in, they will only be getting into the pool- if the pool at the Campground has a good disinfectant and pH control. If it does, the water is less likely to spread germs. Your family will be safer!  You’ll sleep better. That is why it’s important to know that any pool or hot tub you are swimming in this summer is well maintained.

That’s how easy it can be even if you don’t have a pool just buy a test kit. Keep it in a cool dry place and use it once. If Chlorine & especially pH is the wrong question the operators immediately.


Public Pool Chlorine Levels


JimGalloway Author/Editor

References: EPA- Municipal Swimming Pools

CDC-Recreational Water Illness



Recent Posts