Does Swimming In A Cool Pool With Doors Open In Nov. Cause Bronchitis

by Pam Turner
(Cookeville, TN.)

I have been swimming in YMCA pool for almost 2 yrs. I have had bronchitis in March now again in Nov.

They open the doors to the outside. I'm freezing in the water. They have all kinds of fans on, we ask they turn them off. I am 50 yrs old and go to water aerobics I do ok til we get to shallow end and start weight lifting and stretching.

It is so unbearable for me. I am contemplating leaving the pool I started in and loved it so much, but new help is making this pool area bad. I now have bronchitis again. I complained a while back, the sides of pool grungy. They finally cleaned some. The filtering process went out a couple of weeks ago and they still let us swim.

I pay $72 a month to swim in this pool it has helped my mobility a lot. The shower and locker rooms are FREEZING when we get out of pool. I shower in hot water, go to shauna about 5-10 min and get dressed. I don't smoke, nor am I around irritants the only common factor is the pool.

I am concerned. What should I say to the YMCA or am I just over reacting. Chronic bronchitis is COPD.

Thanks for the question Pam

I started as our local YMCA pool operator in 2008, after maintaining hundreds of pools in Arizona since 1999, so I'm pretty familiar with these policies and procedures. There are many parts to your question, so I'll start from the top.

First I'll start with the fans. Indoor pools have what's known as chloramines. This is organic matter in the pool, sweat, urine, make-up, lotions, etc... When the chlorine attaches itself to the organic matter, it kills it, like it should. The gasses that are released are the chloramines, or combined chlorine. This is the cause of the chlorine smell and eye and nose irritation.

Your Y pool has fresh air being pulled in and exhaust fans in the ceiling. I will assume the "fans" in your question refer to portable floor fans that are on the deck blowing across the pool.

What they're trying to do is to get more air movement across the pool so the chloramines will get exhausted out. This is a good idea, but should only be done at night when nobody is using the pool. They should set the fans on the deck, opposite the exhaust system, at night. The guards at my Y do this at each closing and remove the fans in the morning.

High chloramine levels will contribute to bronchitis. What is meant by "high"? The pool chemistry test that are run are for parts per million. I won't bore you with all of the details, but the chloramine level should be below 0.4ppm.

If the chloramine tests are done when they should be, normally during the opening and closing chemical readings, they should be no higher than 0.4ppm. If they're 0.6ppm or above for 3 consecutive days, the pool operator needs to shock, or super-chlorinate, the pool.

This process literally burns off the chloramines. A good shock should take the chloramine level down to 0.0ppm - 0.2ppm. You're not over reacting, just noticing and highlighting a problem that many indoor pools face each day. It sounds to me like they know they have a chloramine problem and are taking steps to reduce them. It's just the time of day that they're choosing to do so.

Ask them what the readings are. Their logs should be open to the public. If not, ask them why. Also ask them to put the fans out at night after closing and keep the exhaust going 24/7. And if the chloramine levels are above 0.6ppm, ask when they plan on shocking the pool.

The water should also be replaced each year, especially for a heavily used pool. What is "heavily used"? Our Y pool gets about 5,000 swimmers per month for an 80,000 gallon pool. That's pretty heavy use. Before you go looking for another pool, see what your YMCA pool operator is doing about the chloramine issue.

You have all of the information on this site, and me, if you need further questions answered, or if you think the Y is not being straight up with you.

To post a reply, or if you have a similar question, you can see your post on the Q&A page in the "Skin & Hair Problems " category.

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Hope this helps and have a great Summer.


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Jan 24, 2015
Premier Pools and Spas Pool Contractor
by: Anonymous

Your blog is so simple and the information in your blog is very effective. Swimming pools, those fulfilled water tubs we are all familiar with, can prove to be a great business opportunity.

Pool contractors are responsible for building a pool.

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