Next time you decide to take a dip in a pool, make sure you don’t swallow the water.
Even if you ingest chlorinated pool water, there’s still a chance of catching cryptosporidium, commonly known as “crypto,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Twice as many people contracted crypto in 2016 compared to 2014, with at least 32 outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds reported in 2016, according to a recent release by CDC. Only 16 outbreaks were reported in 2014.
“The parasite can spread when people swallow something that has come into contact with the feces (poop) of a sick person, such as pool water contaminated with diarrhea,” the release states.
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Crypto can cause adults and children to have symptoms that usually last for 1 to 2 weeks including watery diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, dehydration, nausea, and even vomiting, CDC’s website says.
It’s the most common cause of diarrhea outbreaks linked to pools or water playgrounds because once Crypto infects the water, it’s not easy to get rid of, according to the release. Crypto isn’t easily killed by chlorine, and can even survive up to 10 days in properly treated water.
“It is not clear whether the number of outbreaks has increased or whether better surveillance and laboratory methods are leading to better outbreak detection,” the release says.
The best way to help protect yourself from Crypto is to follow CDC’s steps:
- Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea.
- Don’t swallow the water in which you swim.
- Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the water
- Take kids on bathroom breaks often, and check diapers in a diaper-changing area and not right next to the pool.
Michaela Broyles, 843-626-0281, @MichaelaBroyles