(RxWiki News) Before you jump into the pool this summer, take steps to avoid coming into contact with this germ.
This microscopic germ is called Cryptosporidium, and it causes watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include stomach cramps or pain, nausea, vomiting, dehydration and fever.
Symptoms can appear at two days but up to 10 days (average is seven days) after contact with the parasite. Some people may have their symptoms come and go for up to 30 days.
Although this parasite can spread in several ways, the most common way is by drinking untreated water and recreational water.
In fact, "crypto" is a leading cause of waterborne illness in the United States.
Although anyone can become sick with this parasite, some people, such as those with a weakened immune system, face a higher risk of a more serious illness. This is why it is so important to keep yourself and your family safe this swimming season. Here's how:
When at the pool or lake:
- If sick with diarrhea, do not swim or let your kids swim. (If diagnosed with crypto, wait at least two weeks after the diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.)
- Do not swallow water while swimming.
- Take young children on bathroom breaks or check their diapers every 60 minutes. (To keep germs from entering the water, do not change diapers near the water.)
Avoid water that may be contaminated:
- Avoid drinking untreated water or water from lakes, rivers, springs, ponds or streams.
- Always follow drinking water advisories.
- When in doubt, use water that meets one of the following requirements:
- Commercially bottled water
- Water that has been boiled for at least one minute and left to cool. Water should be boiled for three minutes at elevations above 6,500 feet (1,981 meters).
- Water that is filtered to remove crypto. Look for a label that reads "NSF 53" or "NSF 58." Also, a label that reads “absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller” signals water that you can use.
These recommendations are especially important when traveling in other countries.
For more information on how to prevent illnesses and injuries while swimming this summer, be sure to read "Swimming This Summer?"
Speak with your health care provider about how you can stay safe this summer.
Written by Anyssa Garza PharmD, BCMAS