How to Avoid Pool Parasites

Posted by Michael Hood-Julien on Jul 15, 2015 10:00:00 AM


The swimming pool is one of the best leisure spots during the summer. Whether at home or traveling away, the pool can be relaxing and fun. The pool can also pose health risks. 

According to Centers of Disease Control (CDC), there have been a significant rise in the number of illnesses caused by pool parasites in the last 20 years. Between 2011 and 2012, parasites were the cause of 1,788 illnesses, 95 hospitalizations and one death in the United States.

The most common parasite found was called Cryptosporidium, which accounted for around half of all recreational water-related illnesses. This parasite causes cryptosporidiosis, resulting in diarrhea, stomach cramps or pain, nausea, dehydration, vomiting, weight loss and fever.

Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine, the main chemical used to sanitize pools and hot tubs. It can live up to 10 days, even in pools and hot tubs that are well maintained. 

Illnesses, like the aforementioned, are spread when an individual uses a swimming pool when they have diarrhea.  The CDC reports in a 2009 survey that 1 in 5 individuals admit to urinating in swimming pools, which can also spread germs.

While it is impossible to ensure other pool users are hygienic, here are 5 simple steps you can take to help reduce your risk of illness:

  • Avoid using the pool if you have diarrhea
  • Shower before entering the water
  • Avoid swallowing pool water
  • Avoid urinating or defecating in the water
  • Ensure children take regular toilet breaks.

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