The CDC Just Straight Up Told Americans Not To Poop In The Pool

by Erica Gerald Mason

Exhausted from over a year of begging citizens to wash their hands and wear a mask, the public health organization created a gif you can’t unsee

Lord help us all because the CDC is sick of our shit. Everyone has a breaking point. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have had a rough year. Coronavirus (and the surrounding misinformation campaign) left the agency struggling to keep up with the dual task of both research and communication. With the Delta variant of COVID on a troubling upswing in the US partially due to pockets of those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, the social media team apparently saw their last bit of subtlety fly out the window. Click to watch the GIF. Trust us. You won’t be disappointed.

“Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea,” the agency tweeted. “One person with diarrhea can contaminate the entire pool. Learn more ways to keep you and those you care about healthy. #HealthySwimming.”

Y’all. Y’ALL.

The adorable little girl. With outstretched arms. With the trail of liquid poo following her into the pool. The sweet kiddos swimming (WITH OPEN MOUTHS). The proud papa whose mouth forms a perfect “O” in surprise as he realizes the light of his life just turned the kiddie pool into the biological equivalent of bidet backwash.


Back in 2018, the agency tried to be subtle, with the “What’s In Your Cannonball” campaign. Didn’t work. Because we’re animals.

The mental image of the social media department and the public information departments on a Zoom call this spring, commiserating about the messaging behind the 2021 campaign is one that will be studied for years to come.

Remember the scene in Jurassic Park? When Samuel L. Jackson’s character, exhausted, overworked, and frustrated, tries to regain control of the security tech? We can imagine the staff of the CDC has HAD IT with trying to convince American’s to stay safe.


On the CDC website, readers learn that “diarrhea is the most common illness spread through recreational water,” and some of the bits can survive in chlorinated water for days. Fantastic!

The agency, who is thisclose to sending us all to our rooms, went into gross detail about how the illness can spread.

“Tiny amounts of poop are rinsed off swimmers’ bottoms as they swim through the water. If someone with infectious diarrhea (which can contain up to one billion germs) gets in recreational water, germs can be washed off their bottom and contaminate the water,” the CDC says. “These germs can make someone else sick if they swallow even a small amount of contaminated water.”

If 2020 was the year the world stopped, then 2021 is the year the CDC decided to talk to us all as if we were in first grade.

Someone had to open a browser window to create a GIF of a pooing toddler to convince us not to go into the water if you have diarrhea. Someone had to type the words “don’t poop in the water” and “don’t swallow the water.”

The initiative is part of what one might say is the “no bodily fluids in public pools” communique.

“Pee in the toilet, not in the pool!” the tweet from the CDC helpfully reads. “When pee and chlorine mix in the pool, there is less chlorine available to kill germs.”

A helpful Twitter user took the theme one step further and informed readers that peepee and chlorine mixed together is what makes our eyes red when we go swimming.

The CDC isn’t mad at us, y’all. They’re just disappointed. Don’t make them have to show us what happens in gas stations bathrooms. Y’all ain’t ready.