Cryptosporidiosis is a disease that causes watery diarrhea. It is caused by microscopic germs—parasites called Cryptosporidium. Cryptosporidium, or “Crypto” for short, can be found in water, food, soil or on surfaces or dirty hands that have been contaminated with the feces of humans or animals infected with the parasite. During 2001–2010, Crypto was the leading cause of waterborne disease outbreaks, linked to recreational water in the United States. The parasite is found in every region of the United States and throughout the world.
A troubling survey from the Water Quality and Health last month found that “half of Americans use swimming pools as communal bathtubs.” This means that 24 percent say they’d jump in the pool within an hour of having diarrhea and 48 percent do not shower before swimming. This is a great example of what not to do.
According to the CDC, all swimmers should avoid the pool if they are ill with diarrhea. Parents should take kids on regular bathroom breaks, and check their infants’ diapers at least every hour. Those who are diagnosed with crypto should avoid the pool entirely for a minimum of two weeks.
Some precautions you can take:
Avoid swallowing pool water
Check the health grade of the water
Steer clear of contaminated water
Travel well. Travel safe.