Water Illnesses

Keep you, your family & friends healthy

Recreational Water Illnesses 

Common and maybe not so common bacteria that can cause sometimes serious threats to the health & well being of you, your family & friends. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa or PA (we'll also look at Giardia and Cryptosporidium as well) is a commonly occurring bacteria found in water and soil.  PA is listed as an "opportunistic bacteria" that can cause:

Urinary Tract Infections


Dermatitis (Pool Skin Rash or Pseudomonas Folliculitis) see the picture to the right


Respiratory System Infections


Swimmer's Ear (Otitis Externa) - please see your local doctor for treatment


Other systemic infections


Pseudomonas aeruginosa

A regular culprit...

In swimming pools, a very likely cause of pool skin rash or other water illnesses is Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA).

Pseudomonas feeds on oil & grease present in the spa water (mainly from body oils & skin treatments brought into the spa from bathers NOT properly showering prior to entering the spa or hot tub) and can multiply rapidly under ideal conditions (such as lack of proper sanitizing procedures).

PA can be found on various areas of swimming pools such as pool coping, waterfall edges, ladder steps, etc. PA infects the hair follicles on the body.

If infected, you will notice the following characteristics of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa:

Itchy rash 8 to 48 hours after contamination.


Rash can occur on arms, legs or trunk of body.


Rash disappears 7 to 10 days without treatment.

Perform the following procedure to treat the infected pool:

Remove the filter (if Cartridge type) and soak in a solution of chlorine and water during treatment. (2 Tbsp of Chlorine/5 gallons of water)


Shock with four times the normal dose of BioGuard Smart Shock, part of dosage may be added to the skimmer.  Remember to remove ANY chlorine tablets or sticks before adding Smart Shock to skimmer.

Download a FREE brochure to learn about shocking.


Circulate pool for 12 hours. The bacterial growth usually builds up in the lines, so it is necessary to flush them thoroughly. 

Clean & sanitize all pool areas & surfaces.


Chemically clean (such as BioGuard® Strip Kwik®) and / or replace the filter .


Re-balance pool. Do not enter pool until sanitizer level drops below 4.0 ppm.


As an additional precaution, Par Pool & Spa STRONGLY RECOMMENDS cleaning the solar cover (if equipped) with BioGuard®Stow Away® (contains quarternary ammonium compounds, which when used properly controls mildew).  Clean your cover with Stow Away® at least 2 times per season.


Using products such as AquaFinesse will continually remove the biofilm where about 99% of bacteria lives. Products such as ActivNzyme, contain natural enzymes that naturally "eat up" the greases & oils that feed the pseudomonas bacteria.


Follow the 5 Keys to Pool Care for prevention.

Be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.  Do not self-diagnose ANY condition.  This page is provided for informational purposes ONLY.

For further information, please visit the Center for Disease Control website


Giardia & Cryptosporidium

Giardia (Giardiasis) & Cryptosporidium (crypto) in Swimming Pools

Sorry to be so blatant, but this is about "poop in the pool"...

Two growing health concerns in swimming pools & spas are Giardia (Giardiasis) & Cryptosporidium. Both of these recreational water diseases (WRD) or water illnesses are causing much concern in public health departments around the country and in various parts of the world.

Consumers who are seeking clean, "healthy" water to swim in, either in their own backyard swimming pool or in a properly maintained public or semi-public swimming pool (clubs, schools, etc), are educating themselves to these concerns as well. They want to be better assured of "safe" treated water.

The most common symptoms to both Giardia & Cryptosporidium are:

  • diarrhea
  • gas and/or flatulence
  • cramping
  • stomach and/or intestinal discomfort

Anyone can be at risk of contracting either of these diseases which are parasitical in nature by accidentally swallowing water that has been contaminated through accidental fecal (bowel movements, poo, poop - sorry, had to make this understandable to everyone) contamination.

These accidents have caused certain municipalities around the country to prohibit children under the age of 5 years from using public swimming pools and/or water parks (basically targeting non potty trained children).  Fecal contamination can also come from "uninvited" animals that may enter the pool or even bird "fly-overs".

The average person has about a pinky (little finger) nail sized piece of fecal matter on their bodies a good percentage of the day. 

For that reason alone, it is a very good idea to shower before going into a swimming pool. Giardia & Crypto can live in human & animal intestines for periods of time, sometimes without manifesting any symptoms.  Incubation time is typically 1 - 2 weeks.  If you suspect infection, only a medical test (stool sample) performed by your doctor can verify this disease.

Giardia & Crypto are both parasites which have "shells".  These shells prevent normal treating by chlorine.  Both are highly resistant to even very high levels of chlorine (i.e.  - crypto can only be "killed" by exposure to chlorine at a level of greater than 20 ppm for longer than 24 hours continuously).

Some municipalities & states are recommending the use of Ultra Violet devices which, when used properly, can "sterilize" these parasites and render them unable to multiply. Ultra Violet DOES NOT KILL the bacteria or the parasite.

Be sure to seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.  Do not self-diagnose ANY condition.  This page is provided for informational purposes ONLY.

For further information, please visit the Center for Disease Control website