Before you go swimming, know what’s lurking in the water

Does this kid know what she’s jumping into? Shelby Tauber / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, that the Cryptosporidium outbreaks were double what they had been two years before. What’s that? It’s a parasite that has been linked to water in pools and water playscapes.

It gets there because our poop gets in the water. Then we swallow the water, and thus begins the vicious cycle.

Crypto, as it’s nicknamed, causes  watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration.

It’s also hard to kill and can lurk in water for 10 days. It also doesn’t respond to normal disinfectants. To treat for it, the CDC recommends closing the pool and adding large amounts of chlorine.

To prevent your family getting sick or infecting others, follow these rules:

  1. Shower before going swimming.
  2. Don’t swallow pool water.
  3. Don’t go into a pool or lake if you’ve had recent stomach distress or diarrhea.
  4. Take frequent bathroom breaks and check diapers frequently in the bathroom and not poolside.
  5. Wash hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.

Austin did not have a Crypto outbreak last year, but we did have one in 1998 when city sewage spilled into Brushy Creek wells infecting 1,300 people with parasites.


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