Most people don’t equate summertime with sickness, but unfortunately data shows that more and more people are becoming infected with a nasty bug called cryptosporidiosis from an unexpected source: the swimming pool. Commonly known as crypto, this diarrhea-causing parasitic infection survives for days at a time in chlorinated pool water and makes it all too easy for children and adults to become ill for up two or three weeks.
Basics Facts About Cryptosporidiosis
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, crypto is the most common cause of diarrhea illness. It spreads when people come in contact with the feces of an infected person, usually from poorly washed or completely unwashed hands that infect other common objects. In the summer, crypto can be spread even easier when a person who is still infected with crypto jumps into the pool and unknowingly deposits germs. The crypto bacteria can quickly makes its rounds in public pools despite chlorine and other sanitation methods.
Symptoms of cryptosporidiosis include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting for up to three weeks. In people with compromised immune systems, the infection can become downright life-threatening.
Crypto’s Danger in Public Pools
According to Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, “A typical person who’s sick with Cryptosporidium can release 10 million to 100 million oocysts, which is the infectious stage of crypto. Swallowing 10 or fewer of these oocysts can make you sick. Looking at a typical sized pool, even swallowing a mouthful of water can make us sick.” Unfortunately, the cases of this happening have doubled since 2014, and experts expect that unwelcome trend to continue.
Crypto oocysts are resistant to chemical disinfectants like chlorine, and they can survive up to 10 days, even in properly maintained pools. It is very important to keep yourself and your family member safe this summer while still enjoying the water. Do your best to avoid swallowing pool water, and teach your children the same. If you do fall ill after a day of swimming, call your nearest IMC Family Doctor location in Spring Hill, Northcliffe, Brooksville, or Bradenton to make an appointment. The dedicated physicians at IMC Family Doctor specialize in expert care for all patients between the ages of 18 and 100.