Poop Parasites Are on the Rise in Public Pools, Because Everything About Life Is Disgusting

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Oh, the public swimming pool. The blue water! The splashing! The risk of debilitating diarrhea from swallowing microscopic bits of someone else’s poop! Hooray for summer, and hooray for the CDC for spreading the gag-inducing news that outbreaks of poop parasites in public pools have been increasing in recent years, because a lot of people have not been cleaning themselves properly before getting into the swimming pool.

According to Parents, the CDC says that outbreaks of cryptosporidum have doubled in the past few years, and a lot of that is due to the fact that people are contracting the parasite while swimming in public pools, then coming back and swimming again while they’re still suffering diarrhea from the parasite, and thus spreading it on to other people.

It’s like the video from The Ring, except instead of dying, everyone just gets poop parasites.

We all know that there’s gross stuff that happens in pool water. Let she who has never peed in a swimming pool throw the first stone, here. But in general most of us try to maintain a philosophy of “Let’s try not to think about it, and the chlorine will do its job and keep us safe.”

Unfortunately, it turns out that cryptosporidium can survive in chlorinated pool water for an extended period of time.

“The parasite can spread when people swallow something that has come into contact with the feces (poop) of a sick person, such as pool water contaminated with diarrhea,” said the CDC in a statement, according to NBC. “Crypto is the most common cause of diarrheal illness and outbreaks linked to swimming pools or water playgrounds because it is not easily killed by chlorine and can survive up to 10 days in properly treated water.”

So even when the pool is clean and well taken care of, the poop parasite can survive and infect people who, well, drink it.

“Swallowing just a mouthful of water contaminated with Crypto can make otherwise healthy people sick for up to three weeks with watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting, and can lead to dehydration,” the CDC said.

The CDC says that parents need to be proactive about preventing cryptosporidium outbreaks, because kids under 5 and kids who aren’t fully toilet trained are among the most likely to spread the parasite, because it comes from poop and they’re less likely to be practicing proper poop hygiene.

In fact, the CDC is also urging all people who use public pools to wash with soap and water before getting in the pool, because wiping one’s butt with toilet paper is not enough to get rid of the germs. They’re also advising those who have diarrhea symptoms to avoid the pool entirely until they’ve been symptom-free for two weeks. That’s good advice, and not spreading poop parasites in the pool is just good manners.

(Image: iStockPhoto / peangdao)