Swimming Pool Parasites Crypto 500x206 - Swimming Pool Parasites DoubleHave you ever gotten diarrhea that lasted for weeks? The parasite “crypto” is being found more and more in public swimming pools and water parks.

In fact, outbreaks due to Crypto have doubled in just the last 2 years, according to a recently released CDC report. 

What is Crypto?

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Cryptosporidium can live in properly chlorinated water for up to 10 days and causes watery diarrhea that lasts weeks.

Crypto is short for Cryptosporidium. It is a parasite which infects 750,000 people each year in the US alone. It can spread easily when people swallow pool water contaminated with the feces (poop) of someone with crypto diarrhea. 

A person with crypto sheds as many as 10 million to 100 million spores of crypto with each bowel movement.

And it only takes 10 crypto spores to get a healthy person sick. 

Symptoms usually begin 2 to 7 days after infection. What is truly frightening is the a person who was infected can continue shedding spores for several weeks after being 100% better. 

The recently infected person doesn’t need to have a fecal accident in the pool to spread the spores. And then, making matters worse, this parasite can live in properly chlorinated water for up to 10 days.

Symptoms of Crypto

Symptoms of Crypto include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dehydration.
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

The diarrhea of Crypto can also come and go. Unfortunately, there are many causes of diarrhea. Most diarrhea goes away on it’s own within 1-2 days but if its persisting, a good doctor will ask the right questions to discover the cause.

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Click to enlarge.

If you have diarrhea that has lasted for more than a few days, the CDC recommends you see a doctor to consider further testing. Be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve been swimming in a public pool within 1 week of onset of symptoms. The usual tests for diarrhea do NOT include testing for Crypto. 

The number of outbreaks of Crypto has doubled in 2 years. Crypto causes 3 weeks of diarrhea and is being found more often in public pools and water parks.

Who is Most at risk for Crypto?

It’s important to think about Crypto and make the right diagnosis. If you or your child gets Crypto, the only way we can keep public pools safe is to make sure those who have recently had Crypto stay out of pools and water parks for at least 2 weeks. 

People who are most likely to become infected with Cryptosporidium include:Typhoon Crek 150x150 - Swimming Pool Parasites Double

  • Kids who attend day care centers.
  • Child care workers.
  • Parents of infected kids.
  • International travelers.
  • Drinking unfiltered, untreated water.
  • Using unprotected wells.
  • Swallowing water from contaminated pools & waterparks. 
  • Exposure to human feces through sexual contact.

Why are Pools Increasingly Infested with Crypto?

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The short answer is that no one knows exactly.

Last year, the CDC published a report stating that almost 80% of the time inspectors
visited pools, they found at least one health or safety violation.
More than 12 percent of inspections resulted in an immediate closure, due to a serious violation. And one in every five kiddie pools was closed.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released detailed inspection data from 48,632 public hot tubs, pools, and water parks. The most common problems: improper pH levels, faulty or inadequate safety equipment and improper concentration of disinfectants.

What’s That Smell? Not Really Chlorine!thesmellofchlorine web 150x150 - Swimming Pool Parasites Double

According to last year’s CDC report on pools, “What you smell are actually chemicals that form when chlorine mixes with pee, poop, sweat, and dirt from swimmers’ bodies.”

It’s these chemicals—not chlorine—can cause your eyes to get red and sting, make your nose run, and make you cough. Healthy pools, waterparks, hot tubs, splash pads, and spray parks do NOT have a strong chemical smell.

What Can You Do to Minimize Infection in Pools

To protect your family and others while swimming the CDC recommends the following tips:

  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea.cdc peeing in the pool fact sheet 300x169 - Swimming Pool Parasites Double
  • If diarrhea is caused by Crypto, wait at least two weeks after diarrhea has resolved to swim! 
  • Don’t swallow the water while swimming (easier said than done with kids).
  • Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water. 
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks often, and check diapers in a diaper-changing area — not right next to the pool.

If you have any questions or have been experiencing any of the above symptoms, see your primary care physician immediately. Evolve Medical is also happy to see you. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at info@emc4me.com.

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Dr. Michael Freedman Annapolis Maryland Evolve Medical Clinics 450x450 - Swimming Pool Parasites Double

Dr. Michael Freedman is the founder and one of the physicians of Evolve Direct Primary Care. Evolve provides the highest rated Primary Care and Urgent Care serving Annapolis, Edgewater, Davidsonville, Crownsville, Severna Park, Arnold, Gambrills, Crofton, Waugh Chapel, Stevensville, Pasadena and Glen Burnie.

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