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LAUNCH OF POOL BUG POSTERS

March 17, 2005 4:03 PM


Colourful posters to raise public awareness of how to help prevent bugs in swimming pools are being launched today (Thursday) at Eastwood Pool in Giffnock.

Produced by NHS Greater Glasgow's Department of Public Health, in conjunction with the six local authorities it advises, the cartoon posters with a catchy slogan will go up in private and public pools across Greater Glasgow.

Dr Helene Irvine, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for NHS Greater Glasgow, will lead today's poster launch.

Dr Irvine said: "The colourful posters have been designed to grab people's attention and drive home the message about bugs that can be spread in pool water, along with advice to avoid the pool for 14 days after suffering diarrhoea."

She explained: "There are harmful germs - invisible to the naked eye - that can resist the chlorine in pool water and sometimes evade the filtration systems if these aren't working properly.

"So, in order to make every possible effort to keep our pools safe, we want the public to be aware of what can cause problems in the water and how they can help reduce the risk. We hope the new posters will play a key part in doing this."

The main 'bugs' that can be transmitted in pool water are cryptosporidium and giardia and in recent years swimming pool-related outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis have become more common, some of these being brought home from abroad by holidaymakers.

Cryptosporidiosis can cause unpleasant watery diarrhoea for between ten and 14 days and can be particularly troublesome and prolonged for people whose immune systems are functioning poorly.

Dr Irvine added that the poster slogan reads: "HAD THE TROTS IN THE PAST FORTNIGHT? THEN DON'T USE THE POOL!". This is followed by a brief but educational explanation of pool bugs, and a contact number for the Department of Public Health if people want to find out more.

The Public Health Consultant stressed that the guidance on the posters referring to unexplained or infectious incidences of diarrhoea is from the national body - The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group. NHS Greater Glasgow supports the Group's recommendation that people affected should not use pools for 14 days after suffering diarrhoea.

East Renfrewshire Council's Convener for Community Services Councillor Allan Steele said: "We are right behind this campaign, as it essential that we get the message over to the public that hygiene is of paramount importance to users of our community pools.

"We are doing everything we can to ensure that people enjoy their swims at
our three excellent pools at Eastwood, Barrhead and Neilston and would ask
them to read the important messages on the posters displayed around the poolside."

So as well as following the 14-day diarrhoea rule, what are some other ways that the public can help minimise pool infections?

Guidelines include:

* Babies wearing special baby costumes and not nappies in the pool;
* Children using the toilet before going into the pool;
* Everyone taking showers to remove superficial dirt from the body and hair before using the pool;
* Those who have infectious skin complaints or open wounds avoiding the pool;
* Those who have the cold, flu or other infectious illnesses avoiding the pool;
* Those with headlice, veruccas or athlete's foot steering clear of pool water until effectively treated.

Dr Irvine added: "Although we want people to be aware of how it is possible for illnesses to be spread in pool water, we don't want to discourage them from swimming.

"Swimming is a great past time and can improve mental and physical health immensely, as it helps melt away stress and increases heart rate, burns calories and strengthens muscles, while supporting the body and so preventing strains.

"If people are made aware of what precautions to take, swimming can continue to be an enjoyable and healthy experience for everyone."

To find out more about pool water safety, visit www.pwtag.org or consult a member of pool staff, your local authority Environmental Health Department or NHS Greater Glasgow's Department of Public Health, tel: 0141 201 4917.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

* A JPeg of the poster is available on request

For further information, contact:
Caroline Jarvie Tel:  0141 201 4447 or
E-mail:   [email protected]

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