4 Type Of Infections That You Can Get If You Are A Regular Swimmer

While swimming offers numerous benefits for physical and mental well-being, it's important to be aware. 

Sambhav Kumar
Written by: Sambhav KumarUpdated at: Jul 17, 2023 02:30 IST
 4 Type Of Infections That You Can Get If You Are A Regular Swimmer

Onlymyhealth Tamil

In the summer season, swimming is a popular recreational exercise which has many health benefits. It's a cool way to beat the heat, be active, and spend time with family and friends. It is important to note, however, that certain illnesses can be transmitted when swimming. In this post, we will look at some of the most prevalent swimming ailments and discuss preventive strategies to guarantee a safe and happy swimming experience. In an interaction with OnlyMyHealth, Dr Kirti Sabnis, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital Mulund & Kalyan, explained all about types of infections a regular swimmer can acquire. 

Gastrointestinal Infections

a) Cryptosporidiosis

As per research, cryptosporidium is a parasite commonly found in recreational water sources. Swallowing water contaminated with this parasite can cause gastrointestinal distress, leading to symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and nausea.

b) Norovirus

Norovirus, often referred to as the "stomach flu," can be contracted through recreational water contaminated with faecal matter. It causes gastroenteritis, characterised by vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps.

Also read: Swimming For Health: Health Benefits For Mind & Body

Bacterial Infections

a) Legionnaires' Disease

Legionella bacteria can multiply in warm water environments, including hot tubs and swimming pools. Inhalation of contaminated aerosolized water droplets can lead to Legionnaires' disease, characterised by severe pneumonia symptoms such as high fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

b) Pseudomonas Infections

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterium commonly found in hot tubs and pools. It can cause skin rashes, swimmer's ear (otitis externa), and occasionally more severe respiratory infections in susceptible individuals.

Skin Infections

a) Athlete's Foot

Fungal infections such as athlete's feet thrive in warm and damp environments like swimming pool locker rooms and communal showers. It can cause itchy, flaky, and cracked skin between the toes, along with redness and discomfort.

b) Hot Tub Folliculitis

Also known as "hot tub rash," this bacterial infection is caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. It results in itchy, red bumps or a rash that may develop after using inadequately maintained hot tubs or pools.

Ear Infections

a) Swimmer's Ear

Medically known as otitis externa, swimmer's ear is an infection of the ear canal that occurs when water remains trapped in the ear, providing a moist environment for bacteria or fungi to grow. It causes ear pain, itching, redness, and swelling.

How You Can Prevent Infections

To reduce the risk of gastrointestinal infections, follow these important guidelines:  

  • It is crucial to avoid swallowing pool water, shower before swimming, and practise good hygiene, including frequent handwashing, especially after using the restroom. 
  • Wear appropriate footwear in communal areas, such as flip-flops or sandals, can help prevent fungal infections. 
  • Maintain proper water hygiene and disinfection in hot tubs and pools is essential to prevent bacterial infections.
  • Proper disinfection and water treatment protocols in swimming facilities is crucial to prevent the proliferation of bacteria. Regular monitoring of water quality, proper maintenance of filtration systems, and maintaining appropriate chlorine or bromine levels can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
  • Drying the ears thoroughly after swimming and tilting the head to each side to allow water to drain can help prevent swimmer's ear. Using earplugs or a swim cap can also provide an additional barrier against water entering the ear canal.

The Bottomline

While swimming offers numerous benefits for physical and mental well-being, it's important to be aware of the potential illnesses associated with this activity. By practising good hygiene, avoiding ingestion of pool water, ensuring proper water treatment and disinfection, and taking preventive measures to protect the skin and ears, individuals can enjoy a safe and healthy swimming experience