Planning on going swimming while on vacation this summer? The CDC said on Thursday that an estimated 27,000 people were sickened, and eight died, from swimming-related diseases from 2000 to 2014 in hotel pools and hot tubs.
According to CDC figures, 1 out of 3 swimming-related disease outbreaks originated from hotels.
The CDC says that Cryptosporidium (also known as “Crypto”), Pseudomonas, and Legionella caused most of the outbreaks in swimming venues.
Of the 27,000 people sickened, the majority had Crypto, which is a parasite tough enough to survive even in properly maintained pools.
“Swallowing just a mouthful of water with Crypto in it can make otherwise healthy kids and adults sick for weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting,” said Michele Hlavsa, R.N., M.P.H., chief of CDC’s Healthy Swimming Program. “Chlorine cannot kill Crypto quickly. We need to keep it out of the water in the first place. Don’t go into the water, and don’t let your kids go into the water, if sick with diarrhea.”
The CDC said if a pool, hot tub, or water playground is not cleaned properly, bacteria can grow and form a slime called biofilm on wet surfaces. Legionella and Pseudomonas can live in this biofilm.
The CDC has offered the following tips to prevent getting sick while swimming:
- Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea. If Crypto is the cause of the diarrhea, wait until 2 weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.
- Check the pools, hot tubs and water playground inspection scores.
- Before getting in the water, use a test strip from your local retailer or pool supply store to check if the water’s pH and bromine or free chlorine level are correct.
- Don’t swallow the water.
- Take kids on bathroom breaks hourly, and change diapers in a diaper-changing area and away from the water.