Beautiful women in pool.

Pool PH Matters To Your Health

Aah, the pool!  Owning one has to be one of the ultimate signs of luxury.  When we were growing up, weren’t the kids with the pools the most popular kid on the block?  A pool meant hours of fun on those slow summer days when time just doesn’t seem to pass.

When we grow older, the pool is equally as alluring.  A pool is one of the key ingredients for a party.  Just add beverages, food, people and music.  This is why pools are such an enticement to advertise property.  What is a 40 million dollar mansion without a pool?  Hey, even a one bedroom is better if the building has a pool.  That is why this is bad news for so many people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, a report published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report confirmed that thousands of public pools, hot tubs and similar public services are closed each year in the US because of safety issues.  In fact, based on over 84,000 inspections of 48,000 such facilities, 80% were cited with at least one violation in Texas, New York, Florida, Arizona and California.  Out of those, one in eight had to be closed immediately due to the intensity of the violation.

Kiddie pools and wading pool top the list.  It’s unfortunate that our most prized possessions are also our naughtiest.  One in five wading and kiddie pools were closed for violating health policies, the most common of those being improper pH levels, safety equipment issues and problems with disinfectant concentration.

The Chlorine Factor
Normally, chlorine and other disinfectants and chemicals are added to swimming pool to kill the germs.  However, a study from the journal, “Environmental Science and Technology”  found when these chemical mix with “human inputs,” typically urine, sweat and cosmetics they produce disinfection byproducts that damage cells. This can lead to asthma, bladder cancer, and other health issues.

What Can You do

  • Check inspection Reports:Make sure to look at the date to make sure they were done recently
  • Keep clean:  Experts say that disinfection byproducts can be lower by cleaning spas and changing water in the pool more often and making sure that people shower before swimming.
  • Check Children’s Diapers:  Diarrhea and swimming never mix well.  Take your kids for bathroom breaks and check their diapers.
  • Use a pH strip: Look for a free chlorine concentration of at least 1 ppm in pools and 3ppm in hot tubs and spas.
  • Look for a free bromine concentration of at least 3 ppm in pools and 4 ppm in hot tubs/ spas. Look for a pH of 7.2-7.8

Make Sure Drain Covers are Secure and There is a Lifeguard On Duty

So, don’t stop swimming.  Swimming is good for you!  It relieves stress and improves muscle tone and its a whole lot of fun.  Just be the smart one at the pool.

Woman learning how to swim

Adult Swim Lessons Mean A Safer Summer

Everyone tries to look cool in the summer.  In fact, a good portion of fashion is dedicated to discovering and promoting the latest styles  in beachwear, swimwear and shorts.   So how’s this for a look?  A killer bikini, a huge sunhat, serious sunglasses, a kick board, life jacket, and arm floats.  Ok, not how you were picturing yourself this summer?  Point taken, but the truth is, knowing how to swim is important for summer safety and swim lessons are not just for children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, about 30% of adults in the United States can’t swim the length of a typical recreation center pool and adults make up more than 70% of drowning deaths in the U.S.

Why is it that so many adults have never learned to swim?  Some may have grown up in urban areas where access to a pool was limited. Some are afraid, and many are embarrassed. But whatever the cause, it can be agreed that teaching adults to swim takes a special touch.  John Fitzpatrick, owner and head coach of swim facility, Chicago Blue Dolphins says adults are “very results focused.” They have no patience for learning activities like floating and kicking, they just want to be swimming.  Lori Pailet, founder and director of Aqua Skills recounts a tale of one adult student who became so frustrated, he began smacking the water with a foam noodle.

However, despite the apparent frustration, Pailet reports that the number of adults in her practice has doubled in recent years and clientele normally increases by 15 to 25% per years.

Why Should You Learn To Swim? Need some motivation?  How about this?

Personal Safety
As much as you may try to avoid it,  you will probably, at some point in your life, find yourself near water. I mean, what happens when George or Leo invite you on their yacht or your fiancé wants to romance you on a cruise ship?  If the water is deeper than you are tall, knowing how to swim will definitely come in handy.

Rescuing Others
According to the CDC, more that 3,400 people in the US die from drowning every year.  If you know how to swim, you will be better prepared to save a life.  Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death for children under 14.

Health
Swimming counts as both cardio and muscle toning, so you’ll earn brownie points for both. Swimming hits underworked muscles and, since the water provides natural resistance, the exercise is low impact.  (Bonus- no sweating involved!)

Pleasure
Not only does swimming relieve stress, it is also a social activity.  You may just meet your perfect mate while surfing or water skiing and you’ll get  a lot more exercise than swiping right on Tinder.

So put on those nose plugs and strap on that bathing cap,  and be proud!  You may end up saving a life and meeting your significant other at the same time.

Woman lighting up a fire

The Basics of Camping Safety

Many of us prefer to keep our entertainment vanilla.  We like to have a little fun, as long as it does not involve bears, bugs, rock climbing and the possibility of losing the signal on our cell phones.  But, for those of us that are a little more willing to break out of our comfort zone, camping can be a very attractive prospect.  I mean, just think of how cost efficient it is:  no expensive hotel room, no overpriced meals, no shopping mall.  And what about the health benefits? Just you and your significant others, sucking up that vitamin D, exercising, and communing with nature, snuggling by the fire, shedding those pesky extra pounds.  Sounding more attractive?  Definitely.  But before you pack your fishing poles and rucksacks, there are a few things you should know about keeping safe on your camping trip.

First, let’s talk about mealtime.  Make sure you bring along safe food and water.  Pack your foods in tight waterproof bags and containers, none of that cracked Tupperware you’ve been eating out of those past few months.  Keep edibles in an insulated cooler and out of the way of any animal or insect invaders. Always have clean hands; you may want to pack some of that delightful vanilla scented sanitizer you found at the 99Cent Store.  Separate cooked food from raw , chill foods promptly to avoid rot and cook foods to the proper temperature.  You may want to bring a food thermometer- make sure those sliders are cooked to an even 160. And while you’re cooking, no fuel-burning  equipment in an enclosed shelter. Gas stoves, heaters, and lanterns all have the potential to cause carbon monoxide poisoning inside a tent.

Woman drinking hot coffee

Aside from the temperature of your food, you may also want to pay attention to your own temperature.  Hypothermia is a very real danger associated with camping.  Be sure to bring enough clothing and bedding to stay warm.  Also, be sure to keep hydrated against the heat by drinking plenty of alcohol-free and sugar-free liquids.  And layer up!  Temperatures can be very high during the day when camping and very low at night. Be prepared to strip or bundle up as necessary, but don’t strip down too much. To fight the bite,  and to keep protected against UV rays, keep your body covered. But console yourselves, nudists, even though you may have to leave the scanty clothes at home, think of how sexy you will look in your sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.  Are you channeling Sophia Vergara in the soft drink commercials?  Also, use a sunscreen and lip screen with at least SPF 15 and don’t forget the insect repellant.

So what else should you bring?  You should have a compass or GPS, first aid kit, flashlight, map, some batteries and medications.  Check the weather report, know who you can talk to at the camp if questions arise.  Sound like a tall order?  Maybe.  But if done correctly, camping can be a very rewarding experience.  Go forward without fear.  Just do your homework first.  You’ll come back looking great and feeling invincible!