Now that summer is here, people are looking to cool off in the pool.
Health officials have warned pool goers to be careful in the water this summer, as they have discovered a parasite called cryptosporidium that can survive in chlorinated water. The parasite has been known to cause acute gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea.
In a study that ended in 2012, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that the parasite caused at least 1,788 illnesses, 95 hospitalizations, and one death.
The parasite is microscopic, but the most troubling thing about it is the amount of time it can live in your pool. It can live for up to 10 days in chlorinated water, while other bacteria such as E. Coli would be killed in minutes to hours in a treated pool.
Michele Hlavsa, the chief of the CDC’s Healthy Swimming program said that cases like this usually “disproportionately affect young children.” She continued, “They’re the ones who can go to a pool and young children tend to carry lots of germs."
According to the CDC there are measures you can take to help prevent illness, however. Making sure that anybody who has recently experienced diarrhea stays out of the pool is a good first step. Officials also recommend that all swimmers shower before getting into the pool.
One way that the parasite is transmitted is by swallowing infected pool water.
Hlavsa said the parasite can be cleared from the body in two to three weeks, although if an infected person has a weakened immune system, their condition can become chronic or fatal.
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