Careful, Don’t Swallow Your Pool Water, Here’s Why

Be careful of Cryptosporidium in swimming pools. (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)
Be careful of Cryptosporidium in swimming pools. (Image: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain)

If you head out to your local pool or even your own pool to beat the summer heat, try to avoid swallowing the water. The number of incidents of the parasite Cryptosporidium has been increasing in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In a report published by the CDC, Cryptosporidium (Crypto), which causes diarrhoea, can live for more than 10 days even in water treated with chlorine. The report states: “Between 2011 and 2012, there were 90 outbreaks and almost 1,800 cases in 32 states and Puerto Rico. It has been determined that Crypto was the cause for more than half of these, which is  a dramatic increase since the parasite was first reported in recreational water use in 1988. Most of these cases were in treated water, like pools or spas, but some were in the ocean where people swim. In 2011 and 2012, 73 people were hospitalized, and one person died as a result of the outbreaks.”

Cryptosporidium: What you should know:

Researchers are not sure why the incidents are increasing. One reason could be that people are more aware of pool-related illnesses, and are reporting the incidents more frequently. But it could also be that Crypto is hardier than other bugs; it can’t be killed or inactivated by typical pool treatments, so it is simply affecting more people.

Cryptosporidium and swimming pools:

The CDC is recommending that people treat their pools with UV light or ozone to inactivate the parasite. If you have diarrhea, don’t go swimming so you don’t infect others, and if you’ve been diagnosed with Crypto, stay out of the pool for two weeks after the symptoms abate.

For everyone else, it’s probably a good idea to try not to swallow pool water.

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