Metro-East News

CDC warns of possible illness from swimming pools

Clean pools and avoiding swimming when sick can help limit serious health problems, according to federal officials.

As part of Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, the federal Centers for Disease Control warns that “diarrhea and swimming don’t mix.” The leading cause of recreational water-associated outbreaks is a parasite called cryptosporidium, which this week’s issue of the CDC’s morbidity and mortality weekly report states is responsible for dozens of outbreaks at pools in the U.S.

Right before Memorial Day, it’s important to let people who own pools and hot tubs as well as aquatic facility managers know to keep pools clean and warn swimmers to stay out of the water if they have diarrhea, which can spread the parasite or other diseases.

A report from NBC Channel 5 in Chicago stated that there were at least 32 outbreaks of cryptosporidium in 2016, which was doubled since two years ago. Chlorine is not always effective in killing crypto parasites, and can last for 10 days in the water.

“One mouthful of contaminated water can leave a healthy person sick with diarrhea, cramps and vomiting for up three weeks,” the NBC report read. It is the most common cause of illness outbreaks linked to pools and water playgrounds, according to the report.

The CDC recommends that all swimmers stay out of the water if they have diarrhea; shower before getting in; don’t eliminate in the water; and don’t swallow the water. Be sure to take young children on bathroom breaks, and check diapers in changing areas rather than beside the pool.