Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spraying Water Containing Airborne Bacteria Found At Some Indoor Swimming Pools Can Cause ‘Lifeguard Lung’

Date:
December 17, 1998
Source:
National Jewish Medical And Research Center
Summary:
Lifeguards at indoor swimming pools with water spouts and sprays, waterfalls and water slides may contract a lung disease after breathing bacteria suspended in water droplets small enough to be inhaled into the lungs. This is the first time that indoor swimming pools have been identified as a source of continuously-occurring lung inflammation.

DENVER-Lifeguards at indoor swimming pools with water spouts and sprays, waterfalls and water slides may contract a lung disease after breathing bacteria suspended in water droplets small enough to be inhaled into the lungs. This is the first time that indoor swimming pools have been identified as a source of continuously-occurring lung inflammation.

Related Articles


“Young, healthy, exercise-oriented lifeguards were sick,” said Cecile Rose, M.D., of the Division of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at National Jewish Medical and Research Center. “If we hadn’t figured this out, people would have developed more severe lung disease.”

Sixty-five percent of a group of lifeguards at an indoor pool at a large municipal recreation center complained of symptoms such as frequent cough; recurrent wheezing or chest tightness; labored, difficult breathing; and/or fever that occurred during and after work hours, according to the study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

“At indoor swimming pools with spray water features, contaminated aerosols probably place workers at greater risk than users,” she said, adding, “Regular users of indoor pools with water features may be at risk, too, if they spend a great deal of time in a contaminated environment.”

Lifeguards with symptoms worked an average of 31 hours a week at the pool; only people working in the pool area suffered from the illness. Airborne bacteria--suspended in water droplets sprayed from various pool water features--made the lifeguards sick even though some initially blamed their symptoms on a cold or overwork.

Called granulomatous pneumonitis, this disease is characterized by inflamed nodules in the lungs. The disease is caused by the immune system in the lungs “turning on” in reaction to an inhalant.

“The water droplets were small enough to get deep inside the lung where they stimulated an immune reaction,” she said.Although chlorine may have killed bacteria in the pool, bacteria byproducts measure in the air at the indoor pool were 27 to 162 times higher than in two control pools that didn’t have water sprays, and 25 times higher than outside air. Concentrations of airborne bacteria byproducts were highest near the lifeguard’s “crow’s nest”--about 8 feet from the surface of the pool--than at pool level. “The bacteria may have been dead, but were still capable of causing an immune reaction in the lung,” Dr. Rose said.

Following treatment, the health of all the lifeguards improved, although a small number continue to require treatment for an asthma-like condition. The illness can be treated if detected early, but permanent lung scarring can occur if diagnosis and treatment aren’t timely.

“Lifeguards need to be aware that this illness is a real risk in some indoor pools,” Dr. Rose said. “Once you have the disease there’s nothing you can do to protect it from worsening except permanently leave the contaminated pool area.”

Dr. Rose believes “Lifeguard Lung” is not an isolated problem. “With the growth in the leisure pool industry worldwide and the use of water spray features in indoor pools,” new cases of this lung disease are likely to occur, Dr. Rose writes in the article.

National Jewish Medical and Research Center is ranked as the best hospital in the United States for respiratory diseases by U.S. News & World Report, 1998.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Jewish Medical And Research Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Spraying Water Containing Airborne Bacteria Found At Some Indoor Swimming Pools Can Cause ‘Lifeguard Lung’." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981216180159.htm>.
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. (1998, December 17). Spraying Water Containing Airborne Bacteria Found At Some Indoor Swimming Pools Can Cause ‘Lifeguard Lung’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981216180159.htm
National Jewish Medical And Research Center. "Spraying Water Containing Airborne Bacteria Found At Some Indoor Swimming Pools Can Cause ‘Lifeguard Lung’." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981216180159.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Washington Post (Jan. 26, 2015) What&apos;s the proper technique for shoveling snow? A physical therapist offers specific tips for protecting your back while you dig out this winter. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins