You have more reasons to worry about swimming than just your old swimsuit. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a parasite found in swimming pools is causing infections. Called crypto or cryptosporidium, this parasite lives in water. It can be found in swimming and playground pools.
What crypto does is that it makes its way to your small intestine where it burrows in its walls. Then it is eliminated from your body through fecal excretion. A new CDC report that came out last month mentions that crypto outbreaks have increased in the United States. From 2009 to 2017, they have gone up by 13% each year. In the period of 2009 to 2017, 444 outbreaks have taken place. This has resulted in 7,500 people falling ill, 287 hospitalization cases, and one death.
In the US, more than half of these crypto-related infections have happened in water recreation areas. This is because several people swallow water there. Unfortunately, chlorine doesn’t do much to eradicate crypto. The parasite has an outer shell that preserves it for days. These infections are typically high in July and August. This is because the summer months are when most people take a dip.
Can The Crypto Infection Be Life-Threatening?
The infection is not particularly dangerous for healthy people. They are likely to experience diarrhea with the infection leaving their system within two weeks. However, those with a weak immune system are at risk. For them, crypto can be deadly if proper treatment is not given in time.
To avoid the infection, it is best to avoid swallowing pool water and practice good hygiene. People should not swim if they have diarrhea. Sick children should be made to stay away from school and childcare. This is because crypto has also been traced back to childcare centers. In fact, cattle farms, and consumption of unpasteurized milk and apple cider have also been linked to it.
Therefore, people who are in contact with cattle should wash their hands regularly. Unpasteurized milk and apple cider must be avoided. CDC says that for young children, this sickness can be serious. They can also easily spread the parasite.
Chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program, Michele Hlavsa said, “They don’t know how to use the toilet and wash their hands or are just learning how. But we as parents can take steps to help keep our kids healthy in the water, around animals, and in childcare.”
This is not the first time fecal parasites have been found in swimming pools. A number of fecal germs that can cause diseases live in pools. These resistant bacteria strains cannot be removed by chlorine. In fact, even visible poop particles have been found in swimming pools. Other than germs, pools also pose health risks due to DBPs.
DBPs form when agents from urine, sweat, saliva, hair, etc. interact with chlorine. These can be inhaled or absorbed by the skin. Therefore, it is necessary to strictly follow all pool guidelines.