Recreational Water Illness


Over the past decade we have seen a steady rise in recreational water illnesses. The main culprits seem to be community pools, hot tubs and water parks. A specific parasite called cryptosporidiosis or crypto for short, can survive in even well chlorinated pools. Crypto, even in small portions, can make a person very ill. It comes from fecal matter especially from diarrhea. Even small amounts of diarrhea can infect an entire pool.

Crypto has a hard shell which makes it especially hard to kill. Even in well-kept bodies of water it can live up to several days. It is most potent amongst people who are already weakened like the elderly or children, although it can affect many people who aren’t unwell. The disease causes diarrhea which drains your body of many of the nutrients that you need to sustain life.

The following recommendations are intended to help prevent and control cryptosporidiosis.

  1. Practice good hygiene.
  2. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, rubbing hands together vigorously and scrubbing all surfaces.
  3. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, children with diarrhea should be excluded from child care settings until the diarrhea has stopped.
  4. Protect others by not swimming if you are experiencing diarrhea (this is essential for children in diapers).
  5. If diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis, do not swim for at least 2 weeks after diarrhea stops.
  6. Shower before entering the water.
  7. Do not drink pool or hot tub water.
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