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Thread: Health Risks When Mermaiding in POOLS

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Health Risks When Mermaiding in POOLS

    So, I've been a pro mermaid now for almost 6 years. 4 of them have been spent in maximum overdrive, 2 were spent doing a lot of volunteer stuff. I have experienced loads of health things that are directly related to swimming as a mermaid. Some are obvious, some not so much... let's talk about em! FYI this is specifically about POOLS. I will be discussing other risk areas like lakes and oceans in another thread, since there are things unique to only them.

    disclaimer: while I am a mermaid professional, I do not replace the advice of your physician!

    So there's the obvious:

    • muscle cramping and discomfort from swimming with a monofin. We've talked about this to death on the forum, but the only way of really coping with it is to eat and drink properly, enjoy potassium and magnesium, stay hydrated, and prevent foot blisters with either tape or booties or half booties. See more on my thread about blisters.
    • Chlorine: again, something we've spoken about a lot on the forum, there's a whole thread about how to deal with it from your head to your toe to your tails, here.
    • Drowning: Yup, that shit happens! Please don't be the first mermaid to drown in your tail, we will be all screwed. Learn the signs here. Also, no running on the pool deck
    • Back injuries: more so happen to the merwranglers and mertenders. If it can be helped, DO NOT BEND OVER TO PICK UP A MERMAID. Do not twist! And be sure to lift with your legs. If a mermaid can get herself onto something so they aren't on the floor, or if they can temporarily stand in their tail for the person to pick them up, this is safer for all involved and will prevent back injury.


    Then there's the not so obvious, all of which I've experienced:
    • Ear infections: frequent exposure to water can cause ear infections! You can avoid them by wearing ear plugs (I wear clear malleable silicone and it works great and I NEVER have a problem with kids noticing. I don't swim that deep during parties, so they're perfect.) You can also do preventative care by putting a drop or two of ear drops before and after in your ears. (coming right from my doctor, and yes I do it ever time!) If you get an ear infection, don't go swimming again! Take ibuprofine or tylenol to help with pain. You can get antibiotic drops over the counter. You may need to see your doc and get oral antibiotics. They tend to clear up quickly if you don't have other ear problems or health problems.
    • Sinus Infections and Nasal Drip: if this is a reoccurring problem for you, you may need to approach your doctor about specific prescription nasal spray or pills. And I hate to say it, you might get stuck with a nose plug. For preventative care, plug your nose when you dive down or go under. Even if you just hold it for the first few seconds when you go under, when you let go, the pressure will keep water out. That's what I do, and it is rarely a problem. Noses tend to become problems when you do backflips, and go deep enough to require equalization. I have found using Sinu Rinse before/after gigs to really help prevent both nose and ear infections. It's not for everyone but it helps. If you get a sinus infection or bad drip, see your doctor you may require a prescription.
    • Fungal Infections/Warts etc: dirty pools! Ew! Bring flip flops or shoes if you're allowed onto the pool deck and minimize your contact with the pool deck directly on your skin when possible. Lay out a mat or tail when you're getting ready, and shower before/after AT HOME. Putting coconut oil on your skin will not only help prevent chlorine burn but provides a temporary barrier as well until you're submerged for a while. If you get a fungal infection or wart there are many over the counter treatments and doctor treatments available. Once after walking for about 5 seconds on dirty pool deck after a gig, I got a pain in my foot. that little pain turned into a bad wart (ew!). I went to the doc and while she gave me treatments they weren't really working. So one day she wrapped my foot in hockey tape and told me not to take that off for 2 weeks, it should suffocate it and kill it. It totally did! I occasionally now after so much exposure to pool decks will get the startings of a wart. I put the hockey tape on, and BAM that stuff is gone. Hockey tape: our solution to everything in Canada.
    • Conjunctivitis/Eye infections/Pink Eye: I did a lot of research on this including speaking with an optometrist. The burning you get in your eyes when you're in chlorine? It's not just chemicals, it's literally because your eyes are fighting infection the whole time. Sometimes, contacts can lessen that (or in very rare cases, make it worse. So be sure to talk to your doc before swimming with contacts)Preventative care is obvious but not always doable when you're a mermaid: don't open your eyes underwater. But hey, we're mermaids, we need to! So, use a moisturizing eye drops several times before going into the pool. When you get out, if you can, do a saline flush or an eyewash. After that, it's 100% okay to put anti-bacterial/viral eye drops in your eyes. We're taught that we should use them sparingly but in an instance like this I have both been told and read on official websites that you can use them to prevent the conjunctivitis. They warn people not to use it too much BECAUSE people often use it when they don't need it. but if you've been in a chlorine pool your eyes ARE fighting it. So give them a boost with a drop or two of over the counter pink eye meds. A drop or two after each gig won't hurt you, and it'll save your eyes.
    • Cryptosporidium: now we get to the illness that prompted me to write this because I am experiencing it right now. ugh. Shortened to crypto. It's a parasite! It happens when kids have diarrhea in the pool ew and the pool doesn't properly clean/shut down the pool! In order to kill it, the pool must be sanitized for 12 hours without anyone else coming in. This buy can live in pools for 2-3 weeks if not treated properly. Rec and Sport pools tend to be killer at killing this, but hotel pools, not so much. And lemme tell you, you don't want this bug. The only way to get it is to drink contaminated water or swim in a pool with it. Preventative: don't swim in dirty pools, lol and don't drink the water. Sometimes you can't help it. Pools aren't honest with you (what just happened to me!) or they have someone cleaning the pool who doesn't know what they're doing (happens a lot!) and you just don't know. If you get stuck with it, it can feel a lot like the stomach flu and you treat it the same way. For more info go to the CDC website.


    These are the main health risks you take when you perform/do an event in a public pool! So keep it safe swimming my fishies!

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    ^ was my 6000 post! Yay. Also, I put in paragraphs and they didn't work. Hopefully a mod can fix that for me. :/

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    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod PearlieMae's Avatar
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    Ouch! Too bad hockey tape can't fix that!

    Feel better soon, SuperMerWoman!

  4. #4
    The post formatting looks good to me already~ Great post, very informative. Pools are kind of scary without goggles actually. o_o

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    Another great post to bookmark for future reference. Also: omg, I'm sorry you're dealing with what sounds like a really horrible very bad illness. Ick!

    Very interesting info about the eyes burning. I hadn't thought of the idea that they're basically fighting the entire time with the environment, but it makes sense. Too bad we don't come with nifty secondary eyelids to take care of that (and the blur!) issue.

  6. #6
    Awesome info Raina!! Thanks so much! I hope you're feeling better soon! Cryptosporidium (and giardia too) are also found in lakes/streams/rivers....so we really need to be careful everywhere! I wonder if giardia can be found in pools too?

    warts from pools! Yuck! I had no idea!! You Canadians and your hockey! I'm glad you found a solution that works!


    I wear contacts and have had my fair share of eye infections. This stuff works GREAT for clearing viral conjunctivitius/preventing eye infections and is about $8 in the us:
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Senior Member Pod of Texas Mary Marine's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! Looks like I'll be buying some silicone ear plugs, ear drops, and eye drops to add to the mermaid kit.

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    Senior Member Pod of The South MermaidHyli's Avatar
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    Cryptosporidium= why I don't swim in most public pools outside of doing gigs. (even when doing gigs I usually request to look at the log sheet of when the chemicals were last done.) I was a lifeguard for 6 years and after working around public pools, nope nope nope. I won't even touch water parks. I understand they can be cleaned but seriously the amount of chemical toxins that go into making a pool clean after an 'accident' is just not something I would want to swim in. I've been at pools where it happens, they treat the pool and only close off that side of the pool *facepalm* If an accident happened then the pool should be shut down for 24 hrs max to be sure that the pool is treated and back to normal levels. I've watched the lifeguards or pool management not even do the hourly chemical tests that are required by the law and just make it up. So sometimes you don't even know when the chemicals were last checked or changed. ew ew ew ew sorry, kind of a germaphobe when it comes to public pools

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MermaidHyli View Post
    Cryptosporidium= why I don't swim in most public pools outside of doing gigs.
    it's a nasty bugger, I think last time I went swimming I might have picked it up
    (have had light fever, nausea, cramps and vertigo since then. some of those things I have on a regular basis, so it's hard to say), there's always parents lugging around their toddlers into the deeper pools :/

    sadly, there's no option to swim elsewhere for me than public pools.
    even if lakes & rivers weren't ice cold, they're just gross, and swimming in rivers is prohibited by law since they're full of Giardia and other parasites

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    Senior Member Chesapeake Pod Merman Dan's Avatar
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    Not to mention:



    (EDIT: I am NOT responsible for the still image they chose to use for the video )
    (Formerly known as Æolius)

  11. #11
    Thank you for these precious advices, Raina
    (Formerly known as Mermaid Claudia)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merman Dan View Post
    I am NOT responsible for the still image they chose to use for the video )
    oh you

    tell you what.
    I'd take a shark over toddlers and micro parasites everyday!

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    Cryptosporidium= why I don't swim in most public pools outside of doing gigs. (even when doing gigs I usually request to look at the log sheet of when the chemicals were last done.) I was a lifeguard for 6 years and after working around public pools, nope nope nope. I won't even touch water parks. I understand they can be cleaned but seriously the amount of chemical toxins that go into making a pool clean after an 'accident' is just not something I would want to swim in. I've been at pools where it happens, they treat the pool and only close off that side of the pool *facepalm* If an accident happened then the pool should be shut down for 24 hrs max to be sure that the pool is treated and back to normal levels. I've watched the lifeguards or pool management not even do the hourly chemical tests that are required by the law and just make it up. So sometimes you don't even know when the chemicals were last checked or changed. ew ew ew ew sorry, kind of a germaphobe when it comes to public pools


    Totally. the pools I generally work at are amazing. this one pool I did yesterday was a hotel pool I typically avoid, but I had a situation where another pool cancelled on my re-occuring client , and th ehotel took her last minute. I sort of felt obligated. :/ since we're friends with THE chemical supplier for the whole city, he's always telling me which pools to black list and which pools are on the ball. Some he personally does. But yeah this one the second he saw I was sick he got a hold of me and was like CALL AND COMPLAIN SO HE GETS FIRED AND I CAN GO FIX IT. lol

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    Every pro mer needs to be friends with that guy or gal in their town! lol

  15. #15
    Thank you so much for this info!
    I have sensitive eyes, but chlorine KILLS them. Within 20 mins I have red eyes and white vision! I much prefer the ocean, I dont get any irritation there. Its tough when kids want to "see you breathe underwater", which normally means they want to put goggles on and watch you blink/interact with them underwater. My eyes burn terribly but I have to stay in character. I use eye-drops afterwards but it doesn't always help: I'm going to invest in all the products you've suggested! haha!
    As for crypto, I am so sorry you caught it! I'm lucky that the pools I train in dont allow children under 8 years to swim, because its too deep (8+ feet), so training I have no issues with. But parties so far I've been lucky! Lets hope I stay lucky! haha!

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    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mizuko View Post
    I'm lucky that the pools I train in dont allow children under 8 years to swim, because its too deep (8+ feet), so training I have no issues with.
    OMG IMMA JELLYFISH SO JELLY lol!

    No chance to find something like that in Europe, ever. They wuv their kiddos.

    You will be yelled at by parents (with loudly squealing children) in the "Peace & Quiet"-Area if you calmly ask them whether they've overlooked all the giant "PLEASE BE QUIET IN THIS AREA"-signs around the pool

  17. #17
    Yuuuuck. Pools are so gross. These days I only swim in the ocean pools because I am paranoid about my hair getting damaged from chlorine, but I guess they aren't any better when it comes to this sort of stuff. I think I may have picked up a sinus infection from when I last went swimming a few days ago

  18. #18
    Thanks for the information, Raina. I'm sorry you caught it, that sounds terrible.

    On another note, I think I might try that tape trick. I've had a small group of plantar warts on my big toe for the past few months now, and just can't get rid of them! They are driving me crazy! I've tried digging them out (which worked when I got them on my fingers), but it only made them worse. I tried putting hydrogen peroxide on them after showering (since the skin is softer and more exposed), but that didn't work either (even after doing it routinely). Heck, even today I tried dish soap! Hopefully that'll work, but if it doesn't, I'm definitely trying the tape.

    Let me just say, I HATE dorm room bathrooms. It's where I picked up the warts from both times. I sanitized everything in my room, when I got them on my fingers. And I know exactly when I got it on my foot! My big toes slipped off my flip-flop, for maybe two seconds while I was showering, and I still got them even after cleaning it off!

    Sorry for the rant... like I said they're driving me crazy.

    Anyways, thanks again for the info. I'm sure it will be very helpful to many. Hope you feel better soon!
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  19. #19
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    you gotta leave the hockey tape on for 2 weeks then try.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania AnnaAbyss's Avatar
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    This was really good information. Thanks Raina.~
    Gah I wish I had my own pool at home so I wouldn't have to put up with screaming kids and their germs.
    All the more reason to swim in the ocean. ^.^

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