Memorial day is the traditional opening day for municipal swimming pools and a state health official says everyone should be careful that the cool dip doesn’t end up making people sick.

Iowa Department of Public Health medical director Patricia Quinlisk says public and private pool owners can keep everyone safe by frequently testing the water quality, letting swimmers know proper sanitation rules and enforcing those rules. Quinlisk says the backyard pools can lead to the most problems.

Quinlisk says the kiddie pools that parents fill up with the garden hose have the most risk because the water is meant to drink and doesn’t have the chemicals in it to kill off potential problems. Quinlisk says if you’re going to have a kiddie pool, get some bleach and add it to the pool to make it safer. She says if you’re taking your kids to a municipal pool, take your kids on bathroom breaks and check their diapers often.

If you are an adult, she says shower before swimming, don’t swim if you have diarrhea, and avoid swallowing the pool water. Quinlisk says even with filters and the use of chemicals there have still been outbreaks of swimming-reltated diseases like cryptosporidiosis and giardia.

She says every year they have some cases, but two or three years ago they had outbreaks and quite a few cases of cripto, and giardia. Quinlisk says there were also cases of diarrhea.

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