A Swansea University student is hoping her research will make a splash when it comes to helping us all enjoy a safer swim.
Hannah Jones, who is about to complete her PhD in Public Health, has helped create an eye-catching new animation aimed at promoting better swimming pool hygiene to stop the spread of germs.
She said: “The more people that follow hygienic swimming behaviours, the less chance there is of germs spreading in the swimming pool water.”
Entitled A healthy swimmer is a happy swimmer, it is now set to be used by swimming pools on public screens and social media.
The pools involved in Hannah’s research study will also be displaying information posters in their changing rooms which will include a link to the animation and a QR code so people can access the animation online instantly.
She said: “The people who manage the pools are playing their part in protecting their customers, but swimmers and parents also have a role to play in trying to keep the water and the people in it clean and healthy.
“The aim of my PhD is to raise awareness of behaviours that swimmers and parents should follow to help achieve this.”
Hannah, from Carmarthenshire who is studying at the College of Human and Health Sciences, interviewed swimmers, parents, pool managers and health professionals to find the best way to share key hygiene messages with them.
As chlorine cannot kill all the germs that can be introduced into a pool by humans, if someone who is ill goes swimming before they have fully recovered there is a chance that they can pass on the illness to others. It is also important to use the toilet before swimming, taking care to wash hands carefully, and parents should take their children on regular toilet breaks to avoid accidents.
Hannah now hopes her message will reach an even more important younger audience.
“Some of pools involved in the study want to send the animation to the schools that use their facilities for lessons so they can educate the children.
“We want to make swimmers and their parents think about their own hygienic behaviour and hopefully make some positive changes. For example, making people realise why they should shower before getting into the pool.
“Ultimately we’d like to see swimming pools all over Wales to use the animation to raise awareness among their pool users.”
After completing her Master’s in Public Health and Health Promotion at the University, Hannah worked as a Communicable Disease Technical Officer investigating outbreaks of communicable disease in communities which prompted the theme for her PhD studies.