General Question

atlantis's avatar

Can you catch STDs from a public pool?

Asked by atlantis (1857points) July 1st, 2011

It’s an indoor pool, very clean. But I wonder if chlorine is all it takes to sterilize water. This may or may not be due to the swimming but I noticed that my face has gotten really dry and flaky from swimming everyday. Could this be a reaction to the chemicals or due to an infection I caught from the pool?

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25 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Only if you have sex with it. STD stands for sexually transmitted disease.

Cupcake's avatar

Your face is dry and flaky from chlorine, not chlamydia.

atlantis's avatar

@FutureMemory Are you absolutely sure? Because water does enter all of your holes and crevices including the vaginal and anal cavities.

blueberry_kid's avatar

You can only get an STD if you have sex with the pool or have sex with someone who has an STD in the pool. Millions of people ask this question. An STD is a SEXUALLY transmitted disease. Plus they clean the pool a lot, so even if it could float around in there, it wouldn’t last very long because of the cleaning and the bleach in the Chlorine. So no, you can’t get an STD from swimming in a pool.

CaptainHarley's avatar

The human immunodeficiency virus ( as is true of virtually every infectuous virus known… with the exception of a few human-altered viruses ) cannot exist outside the human body for more than a few seconds. This is why you cannot get an STD from toilet seats, as use to be the belief.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Not with the level of chlorine they put in those. Chlorine kills everything, including humans in relatively small concentrations. It’s bleach, and it doesn’t take much bleach to kill stuff.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s not just chlorine in that pool…it’s also acid. If you’re concerned about your skin, get some good lotion and use it before & after you go swimming. Remember to shower after you go swimming to get the chemicals off from your skin.

And, no you cannot get an STD from the pool. If people could, news reporter whores would be at every single pool all summer long interviewing 3yr olds with Gonorrhea.

JLeslie's avatar

Pools are not even close to sterile. But the chlorine does keep the bacteria in small enough numbers that there is little risk for any infections. STD’s really are highly improbable, think how many children would be walking around with STD’s if you could get one from a pool? You can get fungal infections on your feet from the indoor showers and wet floors. It is a really good idea to shower after swimming to remove the chlorine, which is very drying to the skin, and bacterias that tend to hang out in pools, especially those pools not kept in balance well. Swimmer’s Ear is an example of an infection that can be caught in pools. Some people are more susceptible than others.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
mazingerz88's avatar

A person probably might prevent getting Gonorrhea or Chlamydia if the piston to valve action is pool water lubricated. But you can’t trust me. I’m not a doctor.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No, but you can catch flies in the barnyard.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
CaptainHarley's avatar

The very best pools are the ones with continuous flowing water. The water feeds in at one end, usually from the bottom, and flows out into drainage over a low section of the surrounding pool wall. Much lower chance of disease with this sort of pool.

cheebdragon's avatar

Why would you assume it’s an STD? If anything its probably just an allergic reaction to something in the water. Unless there’s something you’re not telling us….?

WasCy's avatar

Gahh… what an awful story, @gailcalled, and on so many levels. The lifeguard ignored the kid who said someone was drowning? The kid just gave up? The pool had been officially “closed” for six months? The water was that murky and people were still using the pool? No one reported her missing?

Eh, Fall River… what more can be said?

Unless STD means “Swimming-Transmitted Disease”, or unless you have sex in the pool, then you’re okay on that count, anyway. Just don’t swim in Fall River, if you know what’s good for ya.

Supacase's avatar

Why would you jump to the conclusion that a reaction to the skin on your face is due to an STD? Even if you could get an STD from the pool, wouldn’t the more logical part of your body affected be your genitals or the inside of your mouth?

atlantis's avatar

If I had something to hide, @cheebdragon, I most certainly will not hesitate to ask my resourceful jellies. It’ll prolly be the first place I’d ask

@Supacase It’s getting really crowded because it’s the middle of summer and then I never had reactions to pool water before. Just wanted to be 100% sure.

Thanks for the scientifically substantiated answers everyone, shout-out @CaptainHarley @mazingerz88 @JLeslie @SpatzieLover. You’re my swimming saviours!

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s getting really crowded because it’s the middle of summer
@atlantis I don’t know where you live, how hot it is-etc…but the pool maintenance personnel are most likely upping the chemicals to last all day. That means the AM readings will be high so that if they get a health inspection at noon or later in the day, they won’t be forced to close the pool to add more chemicals. yes, even at an indoor pool

I strongly suggest you protect your eyes if you are swimming prior to noon in any pool during summer. Also, know that your swimsuit may be eaten by the chemicals fairly quickly both are a common complaint of tenants at the pools we manage

atlantis's avatar

@SpatzieLover Thanks for that insider info :) I also heard rubbing on Vaseline or petroleum jelly before swimming will protect the skin from chemicals. Is that true?

SpatzieLover's avatar

It’s true it’ll make you gooey. ;) Petroleum sits on the skin. It would help, but you’d definitely feel it.

If you rub in any lotion it should help.

Also, if you’re swimming a lot, you should put a leave in conditioner in your hair before you get in. Many people like it’s a 10 or Ultra Swim

JLeslie's avatar

Also, chlorine is not the only thing in the pool to hold back bacteria and algea from growing. The Ph is very important. Suntan lotions and other chemicals and lotions affect the Ph levels. More and more chemicals need to be added to balance the water when there are many many people using the pool. Your rash can be from dryness or can be an infection. Either is possible. Make sure you shower after with soap, and then moisturize. If the pool water is very clear it is likely ok. During the hottest hot of summer, when many people are in the pool, when a pool starts to get badly out of whack, it really becomes visible.

cheebdragon's avatar

I never understood why people would want to swim in a public pool…do you know how many people piss in that water every single day?.

JLeslie's avatar

@cheebdragon Ironically pee is probably the least of the possible problems.

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