COVID-19 and Swimming. What should swimmers know?

March 20, 2020

The whole world is in quarantine. The so-called Coronavirus popped up out of nowhere and messed up Spring and our plans. While we try to decide how not to go mad at home, people who practice swimming have doubts about going to the pool or not. Let’s try and figure this out together. 

First of all, you got to know the enemy well before fighting it. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus “transmitted via tiny droplets of spit and mucus that may be expelled when coughing and sneezing” according to US Master Swimming. “These droplets can speed undetected from person to person, causing an infection after the virus enters a person’s eyes, nose, or mouth.”

It is believed that the virus is not transmitted via water. Water, being chlorinated, does not allow the virus to spread. PWTAG (The Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group) reports that they consulted with Public Health England who told them: “We have checked with our national leads who confirm that coronavirus would be inactivated at the levels of chlorine used in swimming pools.” That does not mean swimmers should not be cautious while going to the pool. 

OK, now we know what it is, but is it safe going to the pool? 

“Theoretically, if you could go swim laps alone without touching any surfaces or coming into contact with another person, it might be safe to do so. ” - reports USMS. 

Now is the right time to think not about yourself but about other people around you. Social distancing is the key to avoid getting sick. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines advise this:

  • Wash your hands frequently, particularly after you’ve been in a public space or after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing. Wash with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds each time. If soap is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick or who may have been exposed to the virus. Stay at least 6 feet away from others. 
  • Stay home if you’re sick. If you develop symptoms or think you may have been exposed to the virus, call your healthcare provider for advice. Do not go directly to the office or the emergency room. Call first and ask for guidance.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or cough or sneeze into your elbow or upper arm). Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands thoroughly.
  • If you are sick and must go out in public, wear a face mask. If you are not sick, skip the face mask so that more supplies will be available to healthcare workers and others who truly need these devices.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes doorknobs, tables, countertops, handles, light switches, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, and any other high-traffic surfaces. Rubbing alcohol, diluted bleach, and hydrogen peroxide can all disinfect surfaces.

Sooo, good news - you can swim in a pool while keeping a 6 feet distance. Bad news - you are risking your health and somebody else’s health by touching objects that might be contaminated. Hence, stay at home, practice dryland training, swim in a bath full of bubbles and do not forget about a dose of fresh air. 

With love, Sonr. 

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