Summer is approaching and with it comes swimming pool season for the majority of Americans. Clear blue water beckons everyone who likes to swim, splash and keep cool in the water. To keep everyone healthy, the water is treated to kill the germs that lurk. Sometimes, though, the chemicals put into the water to kill off germs, algae and bacteria are not enough to counter a lack of common sense.
Bottom line, anyone with diarrhea needs to stay OUT of the pools. That means the ones in hotels and hot tubs, too.
More than half (58%) of the outbreaks with a confirmed source were caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, commonly called Crypto, which can survive even in well-maintained pools and can give swimmers gastrointestinal illness and diarrhea.
At least six of the eight deaths and 16% of the illnesses could be attributed to bacterial Legionella, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, a severe pneumonia, and Pontiac fever, a milder flu-like illness.
Another type of bacteria, Pseudomonas, which can cause folliculitis (“hot tub rash”) and otitis externa (“swimmers’ ear”), sickened nearly 13% of those enjoying recreational waters.
Both Legionella and Pseudomonas can withstand disinfectants.
In many states, there are actual laws on the books stating when this happens, the pool in question must be closed, and cleaned properly. That does sometimes mean draining and refilling it to assure public health.
“Any child or adult having diarrhea should simply not be in a pool, hot tub or water playground,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York….
“The message is simple: Keep your children out of the pool or hot tub if they are having diarrhea. We are talking about preventing an illness by prescribing basic hygiene,” Glatter said. “If Crypto is confirmed, it’s essential to remain out of the water for two weeks.”
So, how to protect yourself from getting sick?
- Don’t drink pool water
- Use anti-swimmer’s ear over the counter drops to dry the inner ear
- Shower with soap after swimming