Is your paddling pool a cool oasis – or a giant puddle of infection?

Name: Paddling pools

Age: Hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

Appearance: Giant puddles of infection.

But I love paddling pools. Do me a favour, just glance down at your arms and legs and tell me what you see.

I don’t see why, but … oh no! I’m covered in painful welts. Yes you are, and this is almost entirely down to your love of paddling pools.

It is? It is, but don’t worry, it isn’t just you. Last week the NHS 111 helpline received almost twice the average amount of calls about infected horsefly bites.

I’m confused. Do horseflies like paddling? They like breeding in standing water, which is why they’re often found in rural areas full of ponds and marshes. All the better to help them feast on the blood of cattle.

And me, by the look of it. Yes, but that’s only because you’re lazy. Let me guess; you filled your paddling pool on the first day of the heatwave, and still haven’t emptied it.

I’m conserving water: I’m being a good citizen. But you’re also attracting a plague of flying insects that would happily gnaw your face off. Do what the British Pest Control Association recommends and drain the pool after you’re done with it.

Fine then, I’ll refill with water from my water butt instead. No! Definitely do not do that!

Oh god. Why? You have a water butt? Please tell me you don’t water your garden with it.

I do. You terrible human. Did you know that 95% of all British water butts are contaminated?

With what? With legionnaires’ disease. If you spray your garden with water from a water butt, there’s a good chance that you’re spreading legionella microbes in droplets. Inhale those and you might contract a lung infection. And that might kill you; a death from a contaminated hosepipe was reported last year.

So water butts are bad. Potentially, yes.

And filling paddling pools with tap water is bad. Well, yes, you should always try to conserve as much water as possible.

But it’s boiling outside. What am I supposed to do? As far as I can see, you have four choices. First, you can either let your paddling pool stand and risk getting bitten by a swarm of insects. Second, you can fill your pool from a water butt and risk death from legionnaires’ disease. Third, you can fill from a tap and waste valuable resources that are starting to run short due to the heatwave.

What’s option four? Boiling to death in your own skin. That’s the most responsible course of action here.

Do say: “It’s sunny! Let’s get the paddling pool out!”

Don’t say: “Let’s just smear ourselves in toxic bacteria instead.”


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more