Swimming is a great sport. Not only is it a great form of cardio, but it’s also great for toning up the body and building stamina. Unfortunately, in light of the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, pools were asked to close, taking away many people’s primary form of exercise. However, now that Phase 2 has begun and pools have reopened, should we really be going back to the swim? After all, there must have been a perceived threat great enough for pools to have been shut…right?
Together with the help of Dr Aaron Poh, Medical Director and General Surgeon at Alpine Surgical Practice, we answer some of your pressing questions on this issue.
Should we still be swimming at all?
Fortunately, yes! Swimming is a very good form of low-impact exercise, and there is currently no evidence that the coronavirus can be transmitted through pool water.
“The possibility is extremely low for two reasons. The first is that pool water is chlorinated and therefore toxic to the virus. The virus will be denatured (killed) when it comes into contact with chlorine. Secondly, the virus will be rapidly diluted due to the sheer volume of water in the pool. When the viral count is low as a result of dilution, the chance of infection correspondingly drops drastically,” says Dr Poh.
So whether you are planning to hit it at the beach or at your nearest swimming pools, you don’t have to be too worried!
Yay! But what precautions do I have to take?
Just like heading out to a restaurant, while you can do it, there are precautions that you should be taking to protect yourself and your community.
Outside the pool
Virus or not, it is in the interest of public hygiene to take a quick shower before entering the pool. But besides that, you should come to swim prepared with your own personal items. Avoid sharing items such as bath towels, face towels or swimming goggles as “these are potential fomites for surface transmission that allow viruses to adhere to and be transmitted when shared,” Dr Poh explains.
Some additional items that you should remember to bring are masks, hand sanitiser, and disinfectant wipes. The masks should be worn as soon as you are out of the pool and have stopped exercising. Ensure that your face and hands are dry because masks are less effective and very hard to breathe in when they are wet.
Finally, mask or no mask, do remember to stay home if you are unwell.
Inside the pool
Dr Poh advises all of us to wear our goggles! Of course, putting on a pair of swimming goggles may not be the most glamorous thing to do nowadays, but in the midst of the pandemic, it would be helpful to reduce the contact of pool water with the eyes.
Additionally, avoid the pool if it is too crowded because social distancing measures still apply. So do remember to keep a distance of at least 6 feet or 1.8 metres from another person. If you are unable to do so, then it would be best to find another pool or avoid swimming altogether. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Exercise is an important aspect of building up your immunity. However, with strenuous activities where people breathe more rapidly and expel greater numbers of droplets, we have to be doubly careful. Take the appropriate precautions, and stay safe everyone!
Images: Pixabay and The Wellness Insider