Corona virus: How high is the risk of infection in the swimming pool?

Discover the latest insights on COVID-19 transmission risks in swimming pools. Learn about safety measures and precautions to mitigate infection risk effectively. Stay informed and protected during your aquatic activities.

Swimming is a sport, and a popular leisure activity rolled into one. But how high is the risk of contracting the coronavirus in the swimming pool? Can bathing water transmit SARS-CoV-2? What you need to know about protection against infection in the swimming pool.

What is the risk of infection in the swimming pool?

The risk of infection with the coronavirus in the swimming pool is comparable to the probability of disease in other public places. Whether in the outdoor pool, restaurant, supermarket or gym- all these places are shared spaces where many people meet.

Such places, therefore, generally harbour an increased risk of infection with the novel coronavirus – compared to the risk at home or outside. Because SARS-CoV-2 is mainly transmitted by droplet infection. This means that when an infected person coughs, sneezes and speaks, they release virus-carrying droplets that can be inhaled by other people in the immediate vicinity and trigger COVID-19. In order to minimize the risk of infection in the swimming pool, swimming pool operators and visitors must comply with strict hygiene rules and maintain the recommended minimum distance of 1.5 meters.


Features of indoor pools

Indoor swimming pools usually have an ambient temperature of over 30 °C and high humidity. As a result, aerosols sink to the ground relatively quickly and circulate in the air for a shorter time. This can reduce the risk of infection. Ventilation in indoor swimming pools also plays an important role, as it can reduce the risk of infection—ventilation techniques with lots of fresh air and little circulating air offer the most excellent protection.

Is it infecting with coronavirus via the bath water?

The risk of infection in the swimming pool is exceptionally high when many people come close to each other. According to current knowledge, the pool water itself does not pose a risk. According to the Federal Environment Agency, conventional pool water is protected against all viruses, including coronaviruses, if the pool is built and operated by standards because the generally recognized rules of technology for water treatment ensure a hygienically perfect condition.

Potential pathogens such as enveloped coronaviruses are inactivated or killed by the disinfectant chlorine in the pool water. In biologically treated pools such as bathing ponds, there is always a higher risk of infection since no disinfectant is added, and viruses can survive longer in the water.


Is there a risk of infection via surfaces in the swimming pool?

It cannot be ruled out that the coronavirus is also transmitted via contaminated surfaces. However, it survives for different lengths of time on other surfaces. The so-called smear infection could occur, for example, if an infected person sneezes on a door handle, is touched by another person and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes with their hand. Whether an infection occurs in such a case depends on various factors – for example, the number of viruses on the object or those transferred to the mucous membranes by hand.

Since many people in the swimming pool pose a potential risk of infection, operators should pay more attention to strict cleaning and disinfection measures. Therefore, The pool and sanitary areas must be cleaned regularly to combat pathogens. But everyone’s hygiene also counts: Wash your hands thoroughly regularly, sneeze and cough only into the crook of your arm, and, if possible, avoid touching your face, mouth, nose or eyes with your hands.

Coronavirus: How high is the risk of infection in the sauna?

Some swimming pools have sauna areas. Although the virus has a hard time surviving at high sauna temperatures of over  90 degrees  , infection cannot be ruled out with certainty.

There are various reasons for this: on the one hand, the temperatures on the lower benches are lower, and on the other hand, it is difficult to maintain the minimum distance of 1.5 meters in sauna cabins. If you cough or sneeze on someone in the sauna, it is entirely conceivable that the coronavirus could be transmitted. The presence of several people in steam baths,  showers , relaxation rooms and changing rooms can also be problematic.

Übrigens: Der Sinn von Saunabesuchen wird in der Coronavirus-Pandemie häufig in Bezug auf seine möglichen positiven Effekte für das Immunsystem diskutiert. Regelmäßige Saunabesuche gelten als Unterstützer für die Abwehrkräfte. Ein starkes Immunsystem durch einen gesunden Lebensstil und durch Saunieren ist aber kein Garant dafür, sich nicht mit dem Coronavirus anzustecken. Die ordentliche Handhygiene, die Einhaltung der Husten- und Niesetikette sowie das konsequente Abstandhalten sind effektive Schutzmaßnahmen vor einer Ansteckung.

Coronavirus vermeiden: 7 Regeln fürs Schwimmbad

Trotz Umsetzung von Hygienekonzepten seitens der Schwimmbadbetreiber kann nicht ausgeschlossen werden, dass man sich im Schwimmbad – ebenso wie an anderen öffentlichen Orten – mit dem Coronavirus infiziert. Zur Vermeidung einer Ansteckung ist daher auch Ihre Mithilfe von großer Bedeutung. Halten Sie sich an die Regeln, die Ihnen von Ihrem örtlichen Schwimmbad vorgegeben werden.

So verhalten Sie sich im Schwimmbad richtig:

  1. Am Ein- und Ausgang: Halten Sie an der Kasse und beim Einlass den Mindestabstand von 1,5 Metern ein und tragen Sie zusätzlich einen Mund-Nasen-Schutz. Beachten Sie zudem ausgewiesene Abstandsmarkierungen oder Wartezonen. Müssen die Karten an der Kasse bezahlt werden, verwenden Sie dazu eine EC-Karte und kein Bargeld. Werden Sie darum gebeten, Ihre Kontaktdaten zu hinterlassen, dient dies der Nachverfolgung möglicher Infektionsketten – die Daten werden nach einigen Wochen wieder gelöscht. Desinfizieren Sie sich die Hände direkt nach Betreten des Schwimmbads. Beim Verlassen der Einrichtung gilt: Entfernen Sie sich zügig vom Ein- und Ausgang, um Menschenansammlungen zu vermeiden.
  2. In Umkleidekabinen und Duschen: Achten Sie überall auf die Einhaltung des Sicherheitsabstands. Um dies zu gewährleisten, kann es zum Beispiel vorgeschrieben sein, dass maximal zwei Personen gleichzeitig die Duschräume betreten dürfen. Sollten enge Räume besetzt sein, warten Sie zuerst, bis die Personen sich entfernen, um dann selbst einzutreten. Ziehen Sie sich in Einzelkabinen um und beachten Sie, dass Spinde teilweise gesperrt sein können, um den Mindestabstand einzuhalten.
  3. In the swimming pool: Before entering the pool, shower thoroughly. To ensure enough space in the swimming pool for the minimum distance, the staff can limit the number of people and, if necessary, close smaller pools altogether. Stick to the guidelines.
  4. On the lawn:  The minimum distance of 1.5 meters from all surrounding people also applies here. Please give way generously to avoid close encounters at the pool’s edge.
  5. In gastronomy: Certain conditions also apply to gastronomic offers, such as keeping a distance between tables or wearing a mask when going to the toilet.
  6. For fun and sports activities:  The staff will inform you about the terms and conditions of using slides or diving boards. Swimming equipment such as pool noodles or diving rings may not be permitted to be rented.
  7. Staying at home if you are ill:  Even mild symptoms could be due to an infection with the coronavirus, as the disease is mild in many people. To protect your fellow human beings, you should not go to the swimming pool if you have symptoms of illness because infection can be life-threatening, especially for certain risk groups. If you are concerned that you may have contracted COVID-19, call your family doctor or call the medical on-call service on 116 117.


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