Is the water you’re swimming in safe?

CAITLYN SAMPLEY / AGGIE

Cryptosporidium in Davis public pools

With summer in full swing and the sun pushing more and more people to the pools, it’s a good time to consider safety in all manners, including the water we swim in. Cryptosporidium outbreaks, while extremely infrequent, have been on the rise over the last few summers, with detectable signs that can easily be treated with prescription medications after consulting a doctor.

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported via their webpage that “At least 32 outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds in the United States were reported in 2016, compared with 16 outbreaks in 2014.”

        Typically spread by younger children who wear diapers in such public places, Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes dehydration by extreme loss of fluids, such as vomiting and diarrhea. The parasite must first be exposed to the area, usually by a child swimming in a full diaper, which contaminates the water. The parasite must then be ingested in order to infect a person.

        According to The Weather Channel’s website, “Crypto, which can survive up to 10 days, is not easily killed by chlorine […] It doesn’t take much to induce illness that can last up to three weeks. Just one mouthful of contaminated water is all it takes to contract the parasite.”

        However, there are ways to prevent the contraction of this unpleasant parasite. The CDC recommends that you “Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea […] Don’t swallow the water while swimming. Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the pool.”

        Though there is not a particularly large percentage of pools that have been contaminated in recent reports, there is an increase from past years that sets off red flags for pool goers. In no way should any of the contaminated sites keep people from attending public pools and water parks altogether. On the contrary, they are merely informing those that prefer to cool off in the water to be aware of noticeable symptoms and signs.

        All this comes in time for students to enjoy the heat of the summer following the main quarters of school. One of the many pools around campus, the Rec Pool provides an oasis of relaxation for both students and residents within Davis.

        When it comes to cleanliness, the site states that the pool will be closed for “Chlorine levels [that] register under 1.0 ppm […], chlorine levels [that] register above 5.0 ppm [and] fecal incidents.”

        The site goes on to state other weather-related reasons for pool closure, aside from health hazards. However, this intent care of the pool water cleanliness confirms that the Rec Pool staff is taking acute precautions to protect its visitors. So if the Rec Pool is looking like the best place for those staying in Davis for the next couple of months to spend the summer, there is no need to fear contracting Cryptosporidium. Just make sure to apply sunscreen every once in awhile and drink plenty of clean water –– not the water in the pool!

 

Written By: Madison Lyznick — city@theaggie.org