The Department of Public Health is reminding Iowans to be aware of potential problems when taking a dip this summer. State Epidemiologist, Patricia Quinlisk, says a majority of recreational water illness outbreaks are caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, otherwise know as Crypto.
Quinlisk says Crypto is spread by people with diarrhea. Quinlisk says typically a kid with diarrhea, or a kid in diapers that has accidents, gets into a pool and wash themselves off in the water. Then another kid swallows that water and gets sick. Quinlisk says the parasite is not easily killed by chlorine. One of the biggest concerns is a backyard pool that doesn’t get much attention.
Quinlisk says the backyard kiddie pools are filled with water that’s not swimming pool water, and doesn’t have any chlorine in it. She says the best remedy is to keep kids that’re sick out of your backyard pool. You can also add a small amount of bleach to the water. Quinlisk says pools with filters give you more protection.
Quinlisk says since the parasite isn’t always killed by the chlorine, the filtering is important too. She says if you have concerns, you may be safer using a sprinkler instead of the kiddie pool.
Quinklisk says the young, elderly, pregnant women are at a greater risk of getting sick from a backyard pool. Other tips for avoiding illness around the pool: Don’t swallow pool water or get pool water in your mouth; Shower before swimming (children too!); Wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers; Take children on bathroom breaks or change diapers often; Change children’s diapers in a bathroom, not at poolside. For more information on healthy swimming, visit: www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming .