NSW Health's warm water health warning for pool and spa owners, backed by Swimart

Water watch: Warmer weather means warmer and potentially dangerous water in pools. Picture: Swimart
Water watch: Warmer weather means warmer and potentially dangerous water in pools. Picture: Swimart

Pool and spa owners have been urged to keep water properly chlorinated to avoid contacting amoebic meningitis, which occurs on the surface of warm water.

While rare, it is nearly always fatal if water containing active amoebae goes up a person’s nose.

The call comes after NSW Health issued a warning for people to exercise caution if swimming in poorly maintained or untreated swimming pools and spas.

“Any unchlorinated water supply that seasonally exceeds 30 degrees celcius or continually exceeds 25 degrees may be a risk,” director of health protection, Jeremy McAnulty said.

“Shallow wading pools are particularly at risk if they have been left in the sun for a long time.”

Tony Arbidans of Swimart’s National Advisory Committee says pool and spa owners also need to be careful when chlorinating.

“Warm water is a breeding ground for nasties – especially during heat wave conditions,” he said.

“Chlorine requirements will be affected by a range of factors, including your pump and filter system, water temperature, water level, amount of debris and the number of swimmers in your pool.”

The best way to avoid infections that breed in warm water is to check pH and chlorine levels twice daily during hot weather, avoid jumping or diving into warm pool or spa water, keep your head above warm water, empy and clean portable wading pools after use, and flush warm water from hoses before using to top up pool water levels.

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