Summer is just around the corner and the weather is warming up. Memorial Day is nearly upon us and families and friends are making plans to enjoy the sun and the pool. Everyone has been vigilant about not letting water stagnate and adhered to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s cautionary admonishments in order to curb the spread of the ZIka virus via the mosquito. Now the CDC has issued a new warning, and it may be the most severe yet. The CDC issued a severe warning that pool water and water parks may be dangerous to your health due to a dangerous parasite which could be lurking in their watery depths.
Cryptosporidium or Crypto is the parasite responsible for the alert, and it can contaminate a pool rapidly. The CDC announced on its website that outbreaks of Crypto have been reported and that the number has doubled since 2014. In 2014, 16 outbreaks were reported, while in 2016 the number increased to 32 cases of Crypto which could be linked to water parks or swimming pools in the United States. The rate of increase has resulted in the CDC issuing a warning to the public to be alert to the dangers of swallowing pool water.
How Crypto Transmission Occurs in Humans
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 19, 2017
The chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, Michele Hlavsa, explained how the transmission of Crypto occurs. She explained that if a person swallows Crypto-contaminated water, the parasite could cause them to have diarrhea that lasts up to three weeks. She cautioned that mostly younger people swallow water, and it’s up to their parents to teach them how to swim safely to avoid contamination.
“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.”
“As the parent of a 2-year-old, I know exactly how hard that is (to keep kids from drinking swim water), so it’s really important. If we’re good about doing it at the lake where there is no chlorine in the water, we need to be just as good about warning our little ones not to swallow the water in the pool.”
Diarrhea can be particularly dangerous for small children as it can lead to dehydration which can be critical for younger patients.
“Crypto is the most common cause of diarrheal illness and outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds because it is not easily killed by chlorine and can survive up to 10 days in properly treated water. Swallowing just a mouthful of water contaminated with Crypto can make otherwise healthy people sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration.”
As an extra precautionary measure, the CDC has recommended that parents shower their children before they swim in the water. It is also wise to take children to the toilet frequently to prevent any accidents from occurring in the water.
CDC’s Recommended Precautions To Prevent Crypto-Related Illness
— CDC (@CDCgov) May 19, 2017
The CDC has said that they are unsure whether the number of outbreaks has actually increased.
“It is not clear whether the number of outbreaks has increased or whether better surveillance and laboratory methods are leading to better outbreak detection.”
- If you or your child has diarrhea, do not swim.
- If you know that your diarrhea was Crypto-related, wait a further two weeks after diarrhea has stopped before you swim again.
- Do not swallow water while you swim.
- Shower before getting into the water to remove germs that could contaminate the water.
- Frequently take your children to the toilet to prevent accidents from happening.
- Check your child’s diaper in a diaper-changing area and do not check it right next to the pool.
- To kill the Crypto parasite, close the pool and treat it with high doses of chlorine.
[Featured Image by Freemixer/iStock]