“The water in Majorca don’t taste like what it oughta!”
In 1985 an advert for brewing giants, Heineken, used the phrase seen above to promote their beer’s ability to refresh like no other. Whether that’s true or not I can’t say, but I do remember the slogan becoming a popular phrase throughout the UK. Despite the tourist boards saying that the tap water in Majorca (and many other popular resort destinations) is considered safe for drinking, even now tourists still seldom sip from anything other than a branded bottle whilst holidaying abroad. It got me to thinking, if the tap water is not to be trusted, then are the pools?
Whatever time of year it is, nothing beats a family holiday in the sun. Mum and Dad can relax whilst the kids play in the pool. Relaxation goes out the window, however, when someone falls ill. In late 2016, a certain holiday company were awash with complaints after hotel guests all fell ill, the pool was apparently the main culprit.
Don’t get us wrong, the large majority of hotels will have trained staff keeping clean pools, but some think dumping a load of chlorine in meets in bill; how can you be sure of your family’s health and what are the risks?
The affects of ‘non-clean’ pool water.
So yes, we could have said ‘dirty pool water’ there, but I think the word ‘dirty’ brings up an image of brown pools of muddy water. Most pool water is going to look clear blue, fresh and appealing, even though it may not be up to standard.
Common problems from non-clean pool water will be things like skin burns, ear infections or a variety of other allergic reactions. Many holidaymakers might also find themselves suffering with vomiting and diarrhoea and put it down to sun stroke or the local food. However, this may also be a case of taking on the pool water.
What can be done to ensure your family’s safety
There are a few basic things that anyone can do to to minimise the chance of illness:
- Avoid water that looks murky or dirty.
- Always shower before and after swimming – the natural dirt on each swimmer’s body can accumulate quickly, if everyone showers then the pool stays much cleaner.
- Smaller pools are likely to be clearer of bugs and germs than larger pools.
- If you see pool staff treating the pool with chlorine, leave it a while before entering the water.
- Check the depth of the pool and try to explain to your kids about depth to make them aware of potential risks
- Have a quick scout for entrapment risks – are there grills on the floor of the pool for example?
- Check to see if there is life saving equipment, a lifeguard or emergency buttons.
- Swimming goggles with UV protection don’t just protect eyes from the sun, but also the chlorinated water – swim suits with a high UV protection, swim hats and of course plenty of sunscreen are also good for Kids and adults alike.
It’s not just about water quality when it comes to safety.
The other thing to look out for, or indeed, sniff out for is a strong chlorine smell – it’s not the fresh chlorine ready to protect you from bugs and lurgies but the spent exhaust or dirty pool water smell. I guarantee that if you smell that, the pool will start to turn cloudy and eyes and skin irritation will get worse. This is a common problem in pools with a high bather load (most resorts!) as the water cannot refresh itself through filtration and chemical treatment quickly enough. Especially look out early morning – pools should always be crystal clear first thing after a night’s filtration cycle; if not, beware.
Of course, on top of these basic measures, we also recommend taking some mobile water testing equipment on your holiday. Using these can give you an idea of the levels of chlorine, pH and alkalinity etc to make sure the water is in tip top condition. Here is our top recommendation:
These strips are what we here at UK Pool Store use when we are abroad.
We have 5 different types available:
- AquaChek Chlorine / pH / TA test strips
- AquaChek Bromine / pH / TA / TH test strips
- AquaChek Select test Kit
- AquaChek Monopersulfate / pH / TA test strips
- AquaChek Salt test strips
The great thing about these test strips is how quick and easy they are to use. Just dip a strip in the pool for a second and then within 15 seconds you’ll see the results. This means that if you’re worried about it, you can be discrete about checking!
You’ll get the peace of mind you need to make sure the pool is fit for purpose.
Have a look at our full range of water testing kits here.
The iDip provides complete connectivity to your smartphone and could not be simpler to use. The photometer comes complete with 6 tests (Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, pH and Total Alkalinity) but other available test strips include Bromine, Copper, Cyanuric Acid and Phosphate to name just a few.
The eXact iDip is available from UK Pool Store by clicking here.