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Recreational Water May Contain Diarrhea

Updated on July 16, 2013

Most swimmers who visit the swimming pool, whether private or public, feel the water is safe because of the liability and the purification cities and private owners do for clean water. Despite the best efforts, the most common illness occurring after swimming in a compromised pool is diarrhea.

That is because the parasite, cryptosporidium, is able to live in the chlorinated water for several days. People swimming in compromised water, even after the initial "spill", are likely to get it. Even a person who had diarrhea before swimming and now is fine, still may infect the water because the parasite is shedding. This shedding can occur for up to two weeks after all symptoms of diarrhea have gone. Some public pools are installing ultraviolet systems to clean the water because it may be more effective.

Diarrhea can also be caused by the giardia parasite, shigella bacteria and the norovirus. These are usually killed quicker by the chlorine. However, since the parasite can survive for up to two weeks, swimmers should do the following:

  • Don't swallow water
  • If you have had diarrhea, do not swim in a pool at least one week after
  • If you have babies, change diapers in the restroom, not near the pool
  • Wash hands after using the restroom


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