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Swimming When Sick

author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by,, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
Swimming When Sick
Man swimming front crawl in pool Photo Credit: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

As refreshing as a dip in the pool may seem, when you're under the weather, you might be better off staying on dry land. Not only can too much exertion slow down your recovery, but staying away from the pool may spare others from catching your bug. Every illness is different, so get your doctor's OK before swimming while sick.

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Personal Risks

Typically, getting sick is a sign that you need to slow down, Keith Veselik, M.D., of Loyola University Health System says on Medical News Today. While light activity may be OK with certain illnesses, it's dangerous to exercise if you have a fever, body aches, upset stomach or lightheadedness. Even after you've recovered, Veselik recommends easing back into your routine.

Social Risks

Swimming in a public pool may endanger your fellow swimmers, so stay out of the pool if you're contagious. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some chlorine-resistant germs can survive for days in chlorinated water, potentially sickening others long after you've left. The CDC also notes that public pools often fail to maintain proper chlorine levels, so you may spread your illness even with non-resistant germs.

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