Pristine swimming pools draw people in like flies to honey on a hot summer day. However, when pool cleaning is not optimized for your weather conditions and use, you run the risk of spreading recreational water illnesses that turn summertime fun into a gut-wrenching activity. Before opening your pool for the season, make sure you have a plan in place to keep swimmers healthy.

Pool Cleaning and Recreational Water Illnesses (RWI)

When your swimming pool is clean, everyone stays healthy. Keep in mind that even pools regularly treated with chemicals can have disease causing bacteria since some bugs are more resistant to chlorine and will take longer to die. A regular pool maintenance program keeps the level of bad bacteria populations down and reduces the risk of spreading infections.

The most common RWI is diarrhea. The Crypto bacterium, Cryprtosporidium, is found in the feces of an infected person. Due to its hard outer shell, it is particularly resistant to chlorine and will survive for long periods of time, even in pools with the correct levels of chlorine. This disease-bearing organism is passed when swimmers swallow water or breathe in mist from an infected pool. The simplest way to prevent bouts of diarrhea is to schedule regular bathroom breaks and ensure that swimmers rinse themselves off before entering the pool.

Other bacteria that cause gastro-intestinal stress, but are more sensitive to chlorine, include Giardia, the norovirus, Shigella, and E. coli O157:H7. The timetable for chlorine to do its work varies wildly.

1. E. coli O157:H7 is gone in under a minute.
2. The Hepatitus A virus lasts 15 minutes after coming into contact with chlorine.
3. The parasite, Giardia, dies within 45 minutes.
4. That Crypto bacteria that somehow made its way into your pool will remain alive for an average of 10.6 days, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Swimming Pools and Water Treatment Programs

To keep pools safe and healthy, both the pH and the chlorine levels must remain within an acceptable range. Pool professionals understand the delicate nature of this balance and help pool owners keep their families and friends swimming in a safe environment during summer.

Optimal pH levels are between 7.2 and 7.8. To be effective, chlorine levels must remain at 1–3 mg/L or parts per million [ppm]. Regular testing throughout the season and the addition of chemicals on an as-needed basis work wonders.

Keep in mind that the amount of heat within the water significantly impacts the amounts of pool chemicals that must be added. For example, hot tubs require a different approach. Because warmer water helps bacteria grow, a higher concentration of chlorine (between 2-4 ppm) is required.

Those small plastic pools that toddlers enjoy so much are a breeding ground for disease. When combining standing water with the feces in diapers, they present a significant health risk for your children. Pool experts recommend that these summer play areas be emptied on a regular basis and allowed to dry in the sun.

If an RWI does strike your swimming pool, it is vital that you shut it down until healthy conditions are restored. If you choose to do it yourself, keep in mind that the chemicals are often caustic and require safe handling, which is why many pool owners contract with pool companies for regular maintenance throughout the season. By properly maintaining your pool, you ensure a safe environment for summertime fun.

f you are a homeowner, one of the best things to have is a pool. Owning your own pool gives you the chance to cool off whenever you want. Pools are nice during the summer, but in order to have a good time in your pool, it will need to be clean. If they are not, bacteria can grow quickly, which can cause people to get sick. To prevent this from happening, you can take the precautions listed below.

First, in order to keep a pool clean, you will need to put the right chemicals in it. This may seem easy, but there are a lot of chemicals to choose from. And, these chemicals are toxic and could harm your pets and children if not placed in the right place. To avoid this situation all together, it’s best to let a professional clean your pool. You can setup a schedule for these professionals. Whether you have a professional clean your pool twice daily or once a week, they will do so in a safe, efficient manner.

A professional will put chlorine in your pool. It’s important to put the right amounts of chlorine in your pool because if you don’t, your pool may not be safe to swim in. For this reason, it’s best to let a professional handle these jobs. They will put the right amount of chlorine in, and they can test the waters, making sure they are at the right levels.

If you don’t regularly clean your pool, it could be subject to algae and bacteria, which can cause you to get sick. Also, these things can damage your pool equipment, such as the filter and heating pump. This is why it’s crucial to let a professional take care of your cleaning needs on a regular basis. These professionals are reliable, so you can rest assured they will come out to your pool at the right time.

Also, getting help from a professional pool cleaning service is preferred because they will have specialized equipment. This ensures the pool cleaning job is done as quickly as possible and in a safe manner. In terms of equipment, these professionals have pool skimmers, cleaning products, and automatic pool cleaners.

Pool skimmers will ensure leaves are not in your pool, making it clean and keeping your pool elegant. Automatic pool cleaners will be placed in your pool, which effectively remove dirt from the bottom of your pool. These devices work quickly, so you don’t have to wait a long time for your pool to be clean. Also, cleaning professionals will know how to inspect your equipment, such as your pool heater or filter. They will make sure the filter is clean, so that your pool will be clean as well.

So in order to maximize the time in your pool, you need to keep it clean. This is possible thanks to Southwest Florida professional pool cleaning companies. These companies are true professionals, and they will know how to clean your pool. They also have the right pool supplies to clean your pool correctly. This makes your pool look great, and it also keeps it safe to swim in.

It’s the middle of winter, and while other states are covered in snow, you can walk outside and feel the rays of the sun caress your skin as the wet embrace of a beautiful swimming pool beckons you to enjoy the warm temperatures of a beautiful Florida day. From spring to summer, autumn and winter, the constantly shining sun and the state’s perennial warm weather makes it the perfect location to build a swimming pool in your back yard.

But why would you want to build a pool when you already live in paradise? There are many answers to that question, most of them as unique as the owner of the pool itself, so let’s take a look at some of the most common ones:

Owning your own pool is a lifestyle that once belonged only to the rich and famous, but has now become an affordable possibility for all. Living in Florida is the perfect excuse to own a pool as you enjoy the features only a paradise like this can offer while providing you with a healthier and more enjoyable lifestyle. Sunshine, the ocean, a pool, your friends, add them up and you are in for the time of your life in a way only the beautiful skies of Florida can make your dream come true.

Keeping Your Pool Clean

Swimming pools are nice luxuries that most people wished they had.  To get nothing but the best from your pool, you should consider hiring a professional pool cleaning service to handle the chemicals and routine maintenance.  When you need residential or commercial pool cleaning services, it’s a good idea to have them come out once a week to ensure the best care of your swimming pool.  When you use a professional pool cleaning company, you don’t have to worry about chemicals being stored around your home.  This eliminates the risk of anyone being hurt.

Pool Chemicals Kill Bacteria, and Balance the Waters Acidity

After being used for a while, a swimming pool gets contaminated by swimmers and other outside factors.  Consequently, hiring a professional pool cleaning service is important so that you keep your swimming pool in top-notch condition.  This ensures your pool not only remains clean, but it also ensures that your pool is always in proper working condition.  You will find yourself better off by hiring professionally trained experts who are experienced with cleaning pools, working with chemicals and performing the maintenance procedures necessary to keep your pool and family safe.

Having a professional maintain your swimming pool ensures that your residential or commercial pool is free from dirt and debris that accumulates over time.  Dirt and debris in the pool can pose a hazard by causing the pool area to be slippery.  If dirt or debris get inside a swimmer’s respiratory system, it can cause them serious injury.  For the safety of those swimming in the pool, the debris needs to be removed regularly.

A professional pool cleaning service treats your residential or commercial pool with chemicals designed to kill disease causing germs.  Any type of chemical is dangerous, and pool cleaning professionals know exactly how to mix the right amount of chemicals so that they are safe to use.  They also store the chemicals away from your home so that you and your family are always safe.  In case anyone in your family has allergies, you can check with your pool company to see what type of chemicals they use.  Using a professional pool cleaning service ensures the highest health safety standards are being followed.

For Pool Maintenance in SWFL, Choose Panther Amphibian

Frequent pool maintenance is important when it comes to community swimming pools because so many people use them.  Choosing the right professional pool cleaning company is the best way to ensure your pool is as safe as possible and looking good.  If you want to ensure your pool is always clean and safe, contact the professionals at

Image Credit: Swimming Pool Tips, Reviews & How To -MrDgvb1 Channel at YouTube

Every pool owner knows that a swimming pool doesn’t stay in pristine condition by itself. All kinds of things get into pools that don’t belong there - jewelry, bobby pins, leaf litter, and insects to name a few.

One of the unwelcome things that appear when metals are in your pool is: rust. Rust stains can show up on the bottom of your pool, or on horizontal steps, when something containing iron falls in and stays there for a while. It can also show up as an orange stain along the sides of the pool, because of iron in the water.

How to get rid of rust? Surprisingly, Vitamin C (with ascorbic acid) will do the trick, as long as you can get to the places where the stains are and rub on them with the Vitamin C.

How to Spot Treat a Rust Stain in Your Pool

The video above shows how to spot treat a rust stain. Before you start, make sure there’s no chlorine in your pool. Chlorine tends to absorb the ascorbic acid, so it works against you.

If it’s within reach, take a Vitamin C tablet in your hand and rub it on the stain. This is very effective, and usually removes small rust stains quickly. Ascorbic acid is strong; it can remove a little of the blue color from the pool plaster around the stain.  So be careful that you don’t get too enthusiastic and leave obvious spots that are much lighter than the rest of the pool.

If the rust stain is in a spot that you can’t reach, then you can crush some Vitamin C tablets inside a sock, and use a pole to lower the sock down to the stain. Then do your best to rub the ascorbic acid-filled sock back and forth on the stain with the pole. This way doesn’t work as well as rubbing the tablets directly against the stain, but it often gets the job done nevertheless.

Image Credit: JustClickHERE Channel at YouTube

A Florida homeowner recently received visitors to her pool that she’d never anticipated. TJ Ozbay lives in Naples, Florida, and,like many Floridians, enjoys the fun and relaxation that comes along with an outdoor pool. However, relaxation was not her state of mind when three enormous black bears invited themselves into her back yard.

Her husband was in New York, and she was the only one home when the bears arrived. They casually pushed through the screen of the lanai surrounding the pool and began playing in the water.

TJ called 911, and then watched fearfully through her sliding glass door as members of the bear family lolled around, jumped in and out of the pool, and generally had a good time.

Fortunately, while witnessing this from inside, TJ captured it with her I-Phone video recorder. At one point the bears - looking curiously around - were within inches of the glass door.

Ozbay explains to WBBH-TV, "I think it was the sound of the hose that attracted them … I closed all of the doors and the curtains and ran inside. I told the bears to get out of here – go away I said, don’t come inside. It was very, very scary.”

The Three Bears Ran Away

North American Black bears like to swim, and they hunt for fish in rivers and streams, so it may be reasonable for a bear to check out a water source for food and fun.

Black bears are also intelligent and curious, which may be another reason why they had the desire to explore TJ’s swimming pool. But in general, they don’t interact much with humans – they are shy and they go out of their way to avoid confrontations. There are very few records of black bears attacking humans.

After about an hour of frolicking, the bears ran away on their own – assumedly back to the nearby woods. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has said they are considering setting traps to capture the bears, so at this point, the future of the bears is uncertain.

One Thing that is Certain…

While the staff at Panther Amphibian can’t ensure that bears won’t visit your Florida swimming pool, one thing we can ensure is that we can keep your Florida swimming pool clean and beautiful.

The Benefits of Swimming for Arthritis

One of the best ways to mitigate the pain and stiffness of arthritis while not causing additional irritation is to engage in swimming and other water-based exercise.

Image Credit: Fort Rucker

Image Caption: John Edmunds, who reached the 750-mile achievement in the Swim for Life program, swims laps at Flynn Pool Aug. 13. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

There are three types of physical therapy that help significantly with arthritis:

While good old-fashioned swimming can effectively cover your range-of-motion and aerobic exercises, additional strengthening exercises should ideally be incorporated.

Water Walking and Water Therapy

In Florida, a great way to incorporate your strengthening exercises while also minimizing joint pain and overcoming heat issues is to just stay in the water. Rather than going walking and swimming, the new joint-friendly alternative is to engage in water therapy, also known as "water walking”.

Image Credit: Suzanne Andrews at YouTube

Image Caption: Suzanne Andrews Arthritis Water Therapy Program

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In a video about the Suzanne Andrews Arthritis Water Therapy program, Dr. Nathan Wei, Director of Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland, explains that the program is great because it includes all the exercise types you need: aerobic, stretching, and resistance training. He also notes that, "… it takes advantage of the buoyancy of water, which is so important to arthritic joints.”

Here’s a brief overview of how basic water walking works:

Why Exercise Is Important

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to proactively overcome joint pain and arthritis. It can also lead you to an overall healthier lifestyle. According to a Mayo Clinic article on exercise and arthritis, exercise can:

Overcoming the Mental and Physical Block

While exercise is pretty much always good for joint health, one of the most difficult hurdles for everyone to get over is the initial hesitancy to exercise when they are already in pain. This is the hesitancy that keeps creeping back and subconsciously warning you. It tells you that it can’t be good for you to exercise when your joints already hurting. But actually the voice inside your head is wrong in this instance, though we all know it means well.

That’s why getting exercise in water is great for arthritis sufferers – it helps arthritis sufferers get the exercise they need without aggravating their pain. Christine Miller, from, says in her article about swimming and rheumatoid arthritis:

"From my perspective, swimming and water aerobics are great because it feels good and my joints don't swell up afterward. It's also something that I can do even when I'm having a flare.”

Figuring Out Your Limits

Certain precautions should always be taken before seriously considering what exercise option is best for you. For this, you should consult your personal doctor or physical therapist and ask them what exercise plans will best benefit your particular issues with joint pain and/or arthritis.

The Time is Now!

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Swimming and water based exercises are some of the best and easiest things to do to help with your arthritis. They are inexpensive, joint-friendly, and can be loads of fun. In the video above, Rosemary Lichten at RealHealth explains the fun and health benefits of water aerobics.

So go for it!

Don’t let your mental and physical block prevent you from becoming healthier and feeling better.

Talk to your doctor or physical therapist and figure out the right program for you.

You will see and feel the benefits sooner than you think!

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Image Caption: Vintage Outdoor Swimming Pool

Many private and public pool owners have decided to use chlorine alternatives for their swimming pools. Among these alternatives, two of the top solutions are saltwater pools and UV (ultraviolet) systems.

Saltwater Pools

mage Credit: Tara Angkor Hotel

The former’s label may be slightly misleading, as the water in the pool is not seawater, and is only about 8 or 9 percent as salty as seawater is. Essentially, saline and electricity at the water source react with one another, producing pure concentrations of chlorine that then spread throughout the pool.

This tends to do away with most of the common irritations from chlorine, like what it does to your hair, skin, and eyes, not to mention the smell it leaves. Pictured below, a saltwater pool at the Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina is one of a growing number of saltwater pools in the U.S.

UV Sterilizers

UV sterilizers are perhaps the most beneficial of all the new alternatives available. This being the case, an increasing amount of top-notch swim programs and aquatic centers have recently made the switch to UV systems.

Swim Teams Go with UV Water Treatment

Image Credit: GoGreenPools at YouTube

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The screenshot below from the GoGreenPools video, a swim coach explains why he’d recommend UV water treatment for swimming pools, especially for swimmers who are having the typical problems like eye irritation or coughing at the back of the throat, due to the chlorine.

"It was a totally different environment … before, a lot of the kids could not make it through the practice … Any team that would be having that problems, I would tell them, my experience as a coach is: you’ve got to install the system … it’s the only thing that helped … we haven’t had any more of those problems with the kids in the pool.”

Image Credit: GoGreenPools at YouTube

Image Caption: Spectra Light UV water treatment system.

UV: The New Gold Standard for Swimming Pools?

Here are the key reasons why many think UV pool sterilizers are the best option:

Image Credit: Athena L at YouTube

Image Caption: Yale Women’s Swim team

A good way to think about UV swimming pool treatment is to compare it to UV water disinfection. At the 254-nm wavelength range of light, UV effectively kills algae, molds, bacteria, viruses, protozoans, fecal coliform, microbes, and other waterborne diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, hepatitis, and E-coli.

The only drawback to UV systems is their initial cost (residential ozone generators can cost up to$8,000). However, they can actually save you time and money over the long term. Traditional chlorine ranges at about $700 per year, and "shock treatments” range from $150 and above, not to mention the increased maintenance required. Moreover, traditional chlorine treatment is far more abrasive, to both swimmers and the environment, and cannot do many of the beneficial things UV sterilizers can do. Accordingly, UV systems sales are up and rising.

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How would you like to go swimming with dolphins in the beautiful Florida Keys? How about doing your part to foster the research, rehabilitation, and protection of endangered marine life? The Dolphin Research Center (DRC) in the Florida Keys is a non-profit organization that can provide the best of both worlds for dolphin enthusiasts and animal lovers.

Dolphins’ Extraordinary Intelligence

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While the DRC does provide people with a opportunity to swim with dolphins, its most fundamental goal is to conduct critical research on marine life, and to educate people about dolphins, their extraordinary intelligence, and why they should be protected everywhere. In this regard, they discover more amazing things about dolphins and their capacities on a daily basis. Yet there is an immense amount to continue to learn, and the DRC serves this function extremely well.

The DRC has been an integral member of the Marine Mammal Stranding Network for years. While dolphins serve as its primary emphasis, the DRC also aids the growth, protection, and research of other endangered local marine life, such as:

Dolphin Movies and Animal Rescues

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The DRC has a rich history with our aquatic friends, as the area was the filming location for the first "Flipper” movie in 1962. In fact, many direct descendants of the dolphin who played Flipper are currently still thriving and creating families of their own at the facility.

There will always be criticisms of keeping any marine animals in captivity. This much is the natural response of any true animal lover. In this regard, however, it is paramount that people understand that the majority of the marine life being taken care of and researched at the DRC are either being rescued from critical injury, unable to survive in their natural habitat, or direct descendants of animals initially brought in. Thus, in order for us to keep learning more about these amazing creatures, organizations such as the DRC must continue to thrive.

Image Credit: Lowes at YouTube

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Opening your swimming pool the correct way is what will ensure you have a great swimming season. In the Opening Your Pool video above, Lowes explains the basics.

Opening your swimming pool is a process that requires a bit of planning ahead. For starters, here are some of the essentials you will need

Remove Cove

Image Credit: Lowes at YouTube

The first step to opening your swimming pool is often to remove the cover. If the cover has excess water on top, you can pump it off using a hose. Then, remove any excess debris using a pool brush. If the cover sits too low, insert a hose into the pool and fill the pool halfway past the skimmer. Then remove the cover. In order to keep the cover in good shape, make sure it is both clean and dry before you store it.

Check Your Pool Equipment

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Now that the cover is off, remove the freeze plugs from the return lines and skimmers. Proceed to reinstall all of your directional fittings and pool accessories. Next, check the mechanical components to see if any of them need repairs, and install any lines or pipes that you stored when you closed the pool the previous season. Before starting the filtration system, you will need to remove the air pressure by opening the release valve. You know the pressure has been removed once you have a steady stream of water. Finally, open the valve on the return line, skimmer line, and main drain, then start the filtration system.

Skim, Brush, and Vacuum

Image Credit: Lowes at YouTube – Vacuuming your swimming pool before testing the water.

Next comes the cleaning of the pool. Skim, brush, and vacuum to remove debris from the water.

Once you are through cleaning, let the filtration system run for around 24 hours to get the water circulating.

Test Your Water

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After the 24-hour period you can then check the chemistry of the water.

Use your water cleaning products along with the appropriate test kits to ensure your water chemistry is right and your pool water is safe to swim in. This applies whether you use direct chlorine, or one of the more "green” pool chlorine alternatives.

Ready for Summer!

Image Credit: Lowes at YouTube

Your swimming pool is now ready to go!

However, now that you have opened it properly it is important that you maintain the health of your pool for the entire swimming season.

The enjoyment of your poolside experience depends on it!