The evaluation of factors affecting the pre-swim shower behaviors of pool patrons
Keywords:Pool, Aquatic facility, Pre-swim shower, Pool hygiene practices
Background: The hygiene practices of pool patrons are important in maintaining water quality as well as patron health and safety. Poor practices, such as not taking a pre-swim shower, can introduce additional contaminants, which will then react with the free available chlorine to form disinfection by products (DBPs). Not only will excess contaminants decrease the free available chlorine but it will also cause a copious amount of DBPs to be formed. DBPs are known to cause eye and skin irritation, an unpleasant odor, and may cause additional respiratory issues. Therefore, in the interest of public health the number of contaminants introduced into the water should be minimized, which can be done through improving the hygiene practices of patrons. This study investigated factors that may affect pre-swim shower frequencies among aquatic facility patrons. Methods: Data from 78 respondents to a self-administered electronic survey were used in this study. The survey evaluated respondents’ knowledge of pool related illnesses, knowledge of proper aquatic facility hygiene practices and their attitudes toward these practices. Results were analyzed using one-way ANOVA, chi squared test and independent samples t-test. Results: The only statistically significant relationship found was an association between the how often an individual used aquatic facilities and their pre-swim shower frequency; frequent aquatic facility users were found to rarely/never take a pre-swim shower (p = 0.049). As well, factors such as knowledge of pool related illnesses, knowledge of proper hygiene practices, age, and if an individual had read the pool rules were not found to be related to pre-swim shower frequency. Conclusion: The results indicate that educational campaigns aimed at increasing the public knowledge of pool related illnesses and proper pool hygiene practices may not increase pre-swim shower frequencies. Results from this study also indicate that if the showers were cleaner, warmer, and or more private, pre-swim shower frequencies may increase. As well, 79.5% of respondents knew that taking a pre-swim shower is required and 52.6% of participants indicated that they would improve their hygiene practices if consequences were implemented. Taken together, this may suggest that the physical layout of the showering facilities within a swimming pool complex may influence showering behaviour, and greater enforcement of pool rules may be needed in order to increase pre-swim shower frequency.
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