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Indoor Pools Carry Unique Dangers

Coloradoans rely on indoor swimming pools to get their laps in during the many months of the year when outdoor swimming isn't possible. All pools carry some potential dangers if they aren't properly maintained or if property managers and swimmers don't take basic safety precautions. However, indoor pools carry dangers that aren't present in outdoor ones.

All pools need to be treated with chemicals such as chlorine to help avoid the spread of bacteria, viruses and contaminants. This is particularly crucial during the winter when those using the pool are more likely to be suffering from colds or the flu and don't realize it or are determined to swim anyway. Pools in health clubs and recreational centers where groups may congregate for classes can be breeding grounds for all sorts of nasty viruses during the winter.

However, some chemical pool treatments -- particularly if they're overused -- can cause health problems as well. These chemicals are more likely to build up over time in indoor pools than outdoor ones because of the lack of fresh air and sunlight. That's especially true if the area isn't well ventilated. In addition to eye and nasal passage irritation and coughing, some people can even suffer asthmatic reactions.

Another potential danger of indoor pools that many people don't consider is lightning. Gas and plumbing lines in indoor pool facilities can be magnets for lightning. If you're in the water and touching a metal surface like a railing, you're at risk of suffering serious injuries.

The National Lightning Safety Institute advises those who manage pools to evacuate people to a dry area whenever lightning appears within six miles of a facility. They should keep people out of the pool until no lightning has appeared for at least 30 minutes.

Indoor pools are likely to be surrounded by tiled floors and other types of flooring that can become highly slippery when they get wet. Therefore, it's essential to be extremely cautious when walking in an indoor pool facility.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or illness at an indoor pool that you believe could have should have been prevented by the property owner or manager, it's wise to find out what your legal options are. You may be able to seek compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages and other expenses and damages.

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