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Dr. Edwards' Blog

Memorial Day Means Summer Fun and Pool Parties -- May 25, 2016

It's coming up again this weekend -- our unofficial start of summer.  Many city pools open on Memorial Day and most kids are ready to jump in and cool off now that they're out of school.  Swimming is great exercise and a wonderful family activity.  But before jumping in, consider that thousands of public pools, hot tubs and water parks are shut down every year because they fail safety inspections. 

Because pools and other public water venues are about to get much busier, the Centers for Disease Control has declared this week (May 23-29)"Healthy and Safe Swimming Week." Among the CDC's suggestions:

  1. Ask to see the pool's latest safety inspection
  2. Do your own inspection of proper pH and disinfectant levels by using an affordable testing kit available at department and hardware stores
  3. Make sure the drain at the deep end of the pool is visible
  4. See that drain covers are secure and in good condition
  5. Ensure there is proper lifesaving equipment if there is no lifeguard

Earlier this spring, the CDC inspected data from 16 public health agencies in the five states with the most public pools and hot tubs: Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Texas.  Researchers found that of the more than  48,000 public aquatic venues in those states, 80% of them violated at least one safety standard and had to immediately be shut down until corrections were made. 

You might be interested to know that Missouri does not have any type of law that regulates public pool inspections.  Larger counties, like St. Louis, do have ordinances requiring public pool inspections.  Franklin County, for instance, does not.  An inspector with that office said if city pools have snack bars, they do inspect those areas but do not have any mandate to investigate pool safety.

Since the Lake of the Ozarks will be a common destination this holiday weekend, we checked with the health departments in Camden and Miller Counties.  They are only required to inspect pools in resorts and hotels.  They do not inspect public pools.  One interesting note here:  pools at condos that many people rent at the Lake are not subject to any inspections.  Health officials tell us that's because all the units are privately owned and not under any county or state ordinances.  One health inspector in Camden County suggested that if you're about to swim in one of the pools, follow the CDC guidelines above.  Get the testing kit and follow the instructions for pH and disinfectant levels. 

No matter what you'll be doing this weekend, we at Optima Dental Group wish you a safe and healthy Memorial Day holiday.




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