Eeew. It’s bad enough to think that it is common to have traces of urine in your swimming pool, but what if other bodily fluids contaminate the water? Do you know what to do if someone vomits in your pool? The CDC (Center for Disease Control) actually has a recommended procedure on how to deal with that unfortunate situation.
Swallowed Pool Water
Young children often ingest pool water, either accidentally or intentionally. As parents, it is our responsibility to warn them against the practice and to remove them from the water if they persist in deliberately drinking the pool water. However, many young children can’t help but swallow some pool water while playing and splashing about. This may cause them to vomit back up the water they have inadvertently consumed. If it is just pool water that comes back out, it is very unlikely to contaminate the pool or spread illness.
Vomiting Partially Digested Food
On the other hand, if a person vomits up partially digested food into the pool, it’s a bigger deal entirely and the pool owner needs to take immediate action. Since there could be various reasons to cause an individual to vomit (intoxication, over-exertion, or illness), it is best to take the worst-case scenario approach when it comes to clean-up. The germs found in the vomit of someone with a stomach virus are typically noroviruses, which are quite contagious. Therefore, it is essential to take immediate and thorough steps to eradicate it from the pool water.
How to Respond if Someone Vomits in Your Pool
The CDC recommends treating the vomited material in the same manner one would deal with cleaning up fecal material in the pool water. The first step obviously is to clear bathers from the pool. Then, after donning disposable gloves, remove the vomitus from the water with a net or basket skimmer. The skimmer will need to be disinfected afterward. It is not recommended to use a pool vac to clean up the material. Disinfecting all the parts of a pool vac is more work than we’d wish on anyone.
It turns out that disinfecting a pool after a vomiting incident is fairly straightforward and does not take a prolonged amount of time. After removing the material, it is suggested that raising the level of free chlorine in the pool to 2 ppm (parts per million), and keeping the pH at 7.5 for 25 to 30 minutes is sufficient to kill off any virus that may have contaminated the pool water.
So now you know what to do if someone vomits in your pool. We don’t know about you, but we’d probably be done with our pool activities for the day if there was a vomiting incident while we were swimming. It is good to know, however, that dealing with such an unpleasant event is not as prolonged and labor intensive as cleaning up a diarrhea incident in the pool or hot tub. (Look for a blog post on that topic in the near future). Meanwhile, be prepared for the unexpected by stocking up on all your pool and spa chemicals at Aqua Pools!