The weather has really heated up this week. More and more Victoria residents are cooling off in area pools. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, swimming is the fifth-most popular activity in the country.

The US has 10.9 million residential pools and 309,000 public swimming pools. There are several excellent public pools in Victoria. Swimming at the Barbara Bauer Briggs Family YMCA is just one of the great pools in the area, offering swimming lessons, open swimming, water aerobics, and other programs.

With all the recent shark sightings at Texas beaches so far this summer, and the huge gars in the rivers, many people feel that swimming pools are much safer than other swimming alternatives.

Little do they know, pools harbor potential dangers of their own.

In recent years, several severe outbreaks of serious illnesses have been caused by swimming in contaminated pool water. Dangerous bacteria like C. difficile and E. Coli can cause severe and even life-threatening intestinal illness. Fortunately, none of these have occurred in our area.

Some of these problems are caused by people swimming while having diarrhea. The Centers For Disease Control says people who experience it should abstain from swimming. If anyone swallows contaminated pool water after someone with diarrhea has been in the pool they can get sick if the water is not perfectly treated.

It seems appalling that people must be warned not to swim while having diarrhea, but many do not know the dangers.

Pools that are chlorinated properly are effective at preventing illness, but sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not a public pool has the right amount of chlorination as there can be few signs. The CDC recommends that if you are swimming in a public pool, keeping chlorine testing strips on hand is a good idea.

Swimming pool check kit in girl hand dipping in clear water

There are some basic reasons to get out of a public pool immediately.  They include:

1) Hearing thunder: If you are near enough to hear thunder, you are near enough to get struck by lightning while in the pool. Water is an excellent conductor of electric currents.

2) Smell of Chlorine: This is another reason to get out if you can smell chlorine in the pool. It usually means that chlorine is reacting with contaminants brought in by swimmers. The odor indicates the presence of chloramines. It is also an indication that urine is present in significant quantities.

While some chlorine smell is expected, the presence of a strong chlorine smell can mean that there is an issue with the water chemistry or insufficient pool maintenance.  This is a sign something isn't right.

3) Cloudy water or Discoloration: This strongly indicates that someone or many others are using the pool as a toilet.  At the very least, cloudy or discolored water means something isn't right, and it is better to be safe than sick.

4) Body Hair in the Skimmer: Maybe it is just me, but if someone with a lot of body hair is in the pool, I think it might be a good time to get out.

Another good reason to get out of the pool is if you notice that the aqua instructor seems to be teaching a water exercise move that looks a lot like the nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach diarrhea dance from the Pepto Bismol commercial.

Enjoy your pool time this summer, and be safe. If the water doesn't smell right or strict hygiene is not enforced, finding somewhere else to swim might be a good idea.

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.
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