Swimming is not risk-free, advises the Platte County Health Department who asks anyone who has stomach issues, or has had them in the previous two weeks, to stay out of swimming pools.
“Most of us love to spend time in the pool and we assume pool water won’t make us sick. And generally that’s true. Most pool operators do a great job of maintaining a healthy swimming environment,” said Dan Luebbert, assistant director of Platte County Health. “Unfortunately, there are some germs that are tough enough to survive in even the best maintained pools. That’s why it’s so important for swimmers to be responsible.”
Ingesting a mouthful of water from contaminated swimming water can cause diarrhea lasting up to two-three weeks. Even though chlorine will kill germs in the water, some germs can survive days in properly chlorinated pools. The diarrhea-causing germ, Cryptosporidium (or Crypto), can survive in an adequately chlorinated pool for more than one week.
“Crypto is a parasite that’s protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for a long time. That shell is the reason Crypto is so tolerant to chlorine disinfection,” Luebbert said.
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The Health Department offers these tips for protection from lower intestinal illness:
▪ Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea – swim diapers will not contain diarrhea if your child has an accident in the pool!
▪ Don’t swallow the water.
▪ Do your part! Report it if you or your child has an incident while swimming.
▪ Take kids on bathroom breaks.
▪ Check diapers and change them in a bathroom or diaper changing area — not poolside — to keep germs away from the pool.
For information, call the Platte County Health Department at 816-858-2412 or go to website www.plattecountyhealthdept.com.