Swimming is one of the most refreshing means to escape the heat of summer. Business at vacation resorts, beach houses, and villa rentals with swimming pools booms during the hot summer months as families seek such places to relax, and entertain the kids.
The trouble is that many of the pools meant to attract tourists lack proper hygiene and safety measures, and some tourists in Taif are complaining that the pools at many resorts have turned into a source for the spread of communicable diseases.
Experts charge that a general sanitation worker is not fit to clean swimming pools, and that only workers specialized and certified in the care of pools should clean the pool walls, adjust the chlorine level, and monitor the filtration.
Muhammad Ahmad Al-Harmoush, from Taif Directorate of Health stated, “Negligence in the proper maintenance of swimming pools can transform these waters into the perfect place for the proliferation and growth of viruses, bacteria, and parasites. Dangerous contagious diseases can be transmitted, especially during the summer when temperatures are high and large numbers of people use these pools.”
Al-Harmoush calls for government inspections of all vacationing resorts that have pools to ensure that there is an outdoor shower area where swimmers can wash themselves before using the pool. He also recommends that all pool ladders be coated with chromium to prevent rusting.
Al-Harmoush stressed the importance of regularly replacing the water in the pool and renewing the filter, in addition to adding an amount of chlorine adequate for the size of the pool. Such precautionary measures can protect swimmers and prevent the spread of skin diseases and other dangerous disorders such as hepatitis.
Col. Khalid Al-Qahtani, Taif Civil Defense spokesman, said that landlords of such resorts should ensure the safety requirements necessary to protect the lives of children.
Al-Qahtani recommends attaching sturdy handles on the walls of the pool that a swimmer can easily hold on to if he/she runs out of breath. Other safety measures include providing reliable floats in close proximity to the pool and rescue rods.
He strongly recommends that non-slippery flooring materials be used on the grounds around the pool area.
He cautions, “When children are not monitored around swimming pools, painful incidents can occur that often end in calls to the Civil Defense Department to help rescue a drowning child. Sadly, the majority of drowning incidents involve children.” — SG