When the mercury is north of 100 degrees during the summer months, it’s not surprising that the pool is a popular destination spot. The relief the pool provides from the heat and sun is incomparable. With that excitement comes the chance that some critical safety procedures may get missed, and could put you and your loved ones in harm’s way.
Last summer, an outbreak occurred across Arizona that had many scratching their heads. Most folks had never heard of cryptosporidium, or "crypto" for short, until stories started popping up in the news about sick pool goers. Crypto is a parasite, mostly immune from the normal amounts of chlorine used to treat pools, and it can cause intestinal illnesses such as diarrhea, cramping and vomiting.
Last July, the Maricopa County Department of Public Health confirmed 19 cases of crypto, about five times more than average for that month. The Centers for Disease Control have released data showing cases have doubled nationally over the past two years compared to data collected in 2014. Arizona alone had 352 people become sick from the parasite from July through October of last year. To put the uptick in cases in perspective, no more than 62 cases had been reported in any single year from 2011-15.
Despite the rising numbers in crypto cases, there is good news. By being more proactive and cautious, people can greatly reduce cases of crypto by following some easy guidelines:
- Do not go to the pool if you or your children are ill.
- Do not ingest pool water while swimming.
- Use the restroom when needed and wash hands and shower before returning to the pool.
- Be sure to shower before and after using the pool.
- Make sure non toiled-trained individuals use plastic swim covers (available for purchase at the Community Center for $3).
The Community Center pool does have outside showers, located behind the lifeguard house; or the locker rooms inside the building have showers, as well.
By taking just a few minutes to follow these guidelines, the chances that you, your family or fellow residents becoming sick are greatly reduced. Let’s all do our part to make sure everybody enjoys their summer at the pool.