"Crypto" outbreaks in swimming pools on the rise

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The infections occur when swimmers ingest water contaminated by diarrhea from a person infected by cryptosporidium, a parasite that is notoriously hard to kill. Memorial Day is almost upon us and families and friends are making plans to enjoy the sun and the pool.

When responding to a diarrheal incident in the water or a Crypto outbreak, the CDC recommends closing a pool and treating the water with high levels of chlorine, a procedure called hyperchlorination.

With Memorial Day just a week away and pool season getting underway for the summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about a unsafe parasite linked to public pools and water parks.

The summer swimming season is right around the corner, and the Center for Disease Control is issuing a warning on the increase in Cryptosporidium. She explained that if a person swallows Crypto-contaminated water, the parasite could cause them to have diarrrhea that lasts up to three weeks.

"To help protect your family and friends from Crypto and other diarrhea-causing germs, do not swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea", Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., chief of CDC's Healthy Swimming Program, said in a statement. She cautioned that mostly younger people swallow water, and it's up to their parents to teach them how to swim safely to avoid contamination. "If we're good about doing it at the lake where there is no chlorine in the water, we need to be just as good about warning our little ones not to swallow the water in the pool". It is the most common cause of diarrheal illness and outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds. Infections can cause watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration. And to keep from getting sick, the CDC advises swimmers not to swallow pool water. People who are infected with crypto should wait two weeks after the diarrhea stops before swimming.

It also said if you take young children to the pool, make sure you take them to the bathroom frequently as a precaution.

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