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How to avoid a pool parasite that's on the rise

Recreational pools have led to 1/3 of the cases
Posted: 6:25 PM, Jul 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-01 18:25:57-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Before you head out to your local pool to enjoy some summer fun, here's a warning.

More and more people are reporting cases of a pool parasite called Cryptosporidium , "Crypto" for short, according to the CDC.

It can enter your body when you swallow pool water and it can make you sick for as long as three weeks.

"Obviously water is going into their mouths, some kids suck it in and spit it out," explained pool supervisor in the Town of Tonawanda Richard LaCroix.

Symptoms include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

Recreational pools like this one are responsible for 1/3 of the cases, according to the CDC. At Lincoln Pool in the Town of Tonawanda, they make sure to test their water several times a day to avoid these problems.

"There's a lot of activity in this pool, so it's very important that we maintain the proper levels," said Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Mark Campanella.

The ideal pH for a pool is in the 7-8 range, according to the CDC. If the parasite were in a pool, there is usually evidence.

"If something like that were in there, the pH would change, it would wither go up or down," said LaCroix.

Keeping up with your personal hygiene is another way to stay safe.

"Be aware that if your children have any open cuts or sores or if your child has diarrhea...don't let them engage in a public pool or for that matter your own pool at home," said Campanella.

The Erie County Health Department suggests showering before and after getting in a pool and to avoid swallowing pool water.

There haven't been any cases of Crypto in the Town of Tonawanda so far, but they still take precautions daily. Whenever pH levels are off, they close their pools.