The Texas heat can often feel defeating, the humidity only adds to the discomfort. But, Texans don’t let that keep them from having a summer filled with fun! However, there is one summer activity that could be very dangerous to your health, and it’s something you and your families do every summer; swimming with strangers. Public pools, hot tubs and water parks are a lot of fun, but we sometimes ignore the danger lurking in the water, and I am not talking about Jaws or angry Piranhas.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) released a warning about a parasite that has become difficult to combat. According to the CDC, the Cryptosporidium parasite (also known as “Crypto”) spreads amongst swimmers when they swallow pool water that has been contaminated with diarrhea. As disgusting as that sounds, it is not out of the question. You can probably trust friends and family to not put their sick children in the pool, but what about hundreds of complete strangers? That is a longshot. In fact, there was twice as many “Crypto” outbreaks in 2016 than there was in 2014. In 2016, there was 32 outbreaks in the United States. This parasite does not die easily with chlorine and can survive up to 10 days, in even the cleanest and most well treated pools. Swallowing even one drink of water that is contaminated with the parasite could result in the ghastliest consequences. Even the healthiest person could suffer up to 3 weeks of vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and inevitably dehydration. To say the least, those symptoms would surely put a damper on summer fun.
The basic rules apply to prevent yourself and other from getting sick with this awful parasite. Shower before you get in, don’t swim while sick, and don’t swallow the water (no matter how thirsty you are). Don’t let this scare keep you and your family from having fun, just be careful and aware of the cleaning standards of the local swimming pool.