Swimmers to be cautious of a pool parasite

Swimmers to be cautious of a pool parasite

Posted: Updated:

While swimming, be careful not to swallow the water.  Doctor Richard Lampe, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Tech Physicians said you could ingest the parasite cryptosporidium.

"We get it by drinking contaminated water and that water is contaminated by stool. So it's fecal, fecal material from people or animals to the mouth," said Lampe. 

Chlorine usually kills bacteria quickly, but not this parasite.

"If a child has had diarrhea  from cryptosporidiosis and it goes to a swimming pool and they still have a little diarrhea, that parasite can get into the water and because it is chlorine tolerant, it will stay in that water for as long as ten days," Lampe said.

The parasite is not limited to the pool, fresh water can also be contaminated. 

"There can be lakes and those are a different story, because animals, cattle, things like that can contaminate water in lakes as well," Lampe said.

These are the symptoms to be aware of: "diarrhea,  abdominal cramping, non-bloody diarrhea and generally not fever. very miserable."

If you think you've got it,  Lampe said go to the doctor.

"and they can look for the parasite in the stool and there is treatment for it." 

In the meantime, take precaution to prevent it.

"Good hygiene, so in terms of anything don't put anything in your mouth without washing your hands ahead of time and if you're going to go to the pool, cleaning yourself before. If you have a child or baby with you that's in a diaper, make sure that diaper is changed in the dressing room, not at pool side where it might put fecal material into the pool," Lampe said.

For more information from the CDC on Cryptosporidium, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/crypto/index.html

Powered by Frankly