A new report from the CDC highlights one of the risks of swimming pools.
Swimming pools and water parks are always a good time, but it's easy to see that they might not be the most sanitary places to hang out. For starters, every year there's that one kid who poops and ruins the pool for everyone else. But don't be fooled: Crystal clear water could be unsanitary too. In fact, the number of outbreaks of the parasite cryptosporidium (more commonly known as crypto) in pool water has doubled since 2014, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (See also: Why You Really Need to Stop Peeing In the Pool)
Crypto is a parasite that causes diarrhea, cramps, fever, and vomiting (adding up to a few weeks of misery). Chlorine can take days to kill off crypto, and during that time swimmers can pick it up by swallowing contaminated pool water. The CDC's report shows that the parasite is becoming more common. And while you're probably not going around guzzling down pool water on purpose, it's easy to accidentally swallow some.
While the news is certainly a bummer, you shouldn't live your life in fear of germs, and you don't need to swear off pools for the rest of your days. Although the number of crypto outbreaks in the U.S. doubled, it only increased from 16 outbreaks in 2014 to 32 in 2016, so this isn't exactly a problem of epidemic proportions.
Still, the CDC gave some tips to help prevent the spread of germs in public pools in its report. Naturally, you should be extra careful not to get pool water in your mouth. You can also be a good public pool citizen by showering before you swim, which helps rinse off germs. And if you've had diarrhea, wait until two weeks after it's gone before swimming.
Even with the CDC's news, the pros of swimming far outweigh the risk. Here's why every woman should start swimming.