Even Chlorine Can't Kill Gross Bacteria in Pools This Summer

kids playing in poolHow many times have you taken your kids to a swimming pool, felt heady from the chlorine fumes, then thought, "Well, at least this pool must be clean." Because no creepy crawly parasites can live in the presence of THAT many harsh chemicals, right? Wrong.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a bacteria called cryptosporidium can survive in chlorine-treated water (read: swimming pools AND hot tubs) for up to 10 days.

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And it case you're wondering, it's not the kind of thing you want as a pet. It looks like a freaky, eyeless cross between an elephant and a turtle. Of course, you won't see, feel, or hear crypto extending its tiny microscopic snout toward you, but you'll know you've been exposed when you come down with a rampant case of diarrhea.

So, how does it get in the water in the first place? You can thank other swimmers who are sick.

Crypto's responsible for over half of treated water outbreaks, and since CDC researchers first began tracking it back in the 1980s, they've seen a significant increase.

For most of us, having stomach cramps and running to the bathroom every five minutes isn't the end of the world. But for people with a weakened immune system, being infected with crypto can be much more severe.

What to do to stay safe at the pool? Besides giving the evil eye to anyone whose child is holding their stomach and complaining that they can't stop going poop?

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Shower before you get in the water. Do not swallow the water. And, as the CDC helpfully reminds, do not use the pool as a toilet, no matter how much fun you're having playing Marco Polo.

Oh, and if you or anyone in your family has diarrhea? Do us all a favor and use your Slip'N Slide at home.

How does this affect your pool-going plans?

 

Image via © Photolyric/iStock.com

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