Health & Wellness

This Beloved Hotel Amenity Could Be Making You Sick

Sorry to ruin your vacation daydreams of sparkling hotel pool swims and romantic hot tub soaks, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just reported that hotel pools and hot tubs can cause infectious diseases. Public pools don’t have the best reputation for cleanliness, but according to the CDC’s study, hotel pools and hot tubs are even worse for your health than other shared pools.

The CDC’s report analyzed almost 500 disease outbreaks that were caused by pools, spas, and waterparks in the United States and Puerto Rico, and found that about one-third of those incidents occurred at hotels. The outbreaks sickened more than 27,200 people and killed eight. Common illnesses caused by the tainted swimming spots were Legionella (can cause pneumonia), Pseudomonas (can cause swimmer’s ear or skin rashes), and Cryptosporidium (causes contagious diarrhea).

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Even if the hotels are following CDC recommendations for cleaning pools and hot tubs with disinfectants, Cryptosporidium can still survive in the water for over a week, and it infects swimmers who accidentally swallow the contaminated water.

Summer is the most dangerous time for swimming, with 56 percent of the outbreaks beginning between  June and August.

So how can you enjoy the hotel pool and hot tub without getting sick? The CDC recommends that you don’t swim if you have diarrhea, check the hotel’s inspection score, and don’t swallow the water.



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By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

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