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Swim Smart This Summer

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The above title is one I’ve used before when writing about safety procedures you can follow when taking your kids to the beach. However, I recently came across an article written by Dr. Joseph Mercola that speaks of another danger we should be aware of during summer.

“Crypto has made a name for itself in the U.S over the last two decades as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease, and not just pools and hot tubs but drinking water as well. It should be noted that the parasite can be found in every area of the U.S. and throughout the world. Needless to say, washing your hands thoroughly and often becomes more urgent once you’re aware that such diseases are caused by a parasite that’s basically spread through exposure to feces,” Writes Dr. Joseph Mercola in his article What You Need to Know Before Swimming in a Public Pool or Hot Tub

What, you ask, is Crypto

Crypto, not to be confused with crypto currency, is short for Cryptosporidium, a disease that causes watery diarrhea, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People with weakened immune systems are especially at risk.

How to combat Crypto

Chlorinated water is not the answer, says Dr. Mercola, as the Crypto parasite is encased in a hard outer shell that protects it from chlorine. To make matters worse, Crypto can live in a person’s small intestines for as long as two weeks, causing the person to experience symptoms for days on and off.

So what can you do?

Stay out of the pool? Crypto lives in drinking water as well. If you touch contaminated objects that have been contaminated by feces, such as railings, door knobs, elevator buttons – I push with my keys – then touch your mouth you can infect yourself.

The solution?

Wash your hands or keep hand sanitizer handy.

Teach small children not to drink the water in the pool.

Teach them not to urinate or defecate in the pool.

Do not give them cups or buckets to play with in the pool. This might encourage them to drink the water.

Shower yourself and your kids before you go into the water and again as soon as you come out. I see too many people plop themselves down on a chair after swimming and allow the water to dry on their skin. Rinsing off for just one minute can keep you from getting Crypto or some other infection.

Do not urinate or defecate in the pool (ever)!

Do not change dirty diapers near the pool.

The good news about Crypto is that people with healthy immune systems are less likely to catch it. This is also true for other infections, so if you want to avoid coming down with an illness that can slow you down or even keep you in bed for days, eat right, exercise regularly and get sufficient rest.