Health officials are warning about an increase infections from a fecal parasite that can thrive in swimming pools.
The CDC says cryptosporidium, or more simply 'crypto', can cause severe diarrhea for weeks. Crypto infections spike during the summer months because people swallow contaminated swimming pool water while in the water. Unfortunately, the parasite has a high tolerance for chlorine and can live in a chlorinated pool for up to a week.
The parasite excretes a cyst with smaller cysts in it. If the cysts make their way to your mouth, they can go down your throat to your gastrointestinal tract. There, the smaller parasites break out of their cysts, invade the cells lining your gastrointestinal tract, and reproduce.
If you do get sick, surfaces should be cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, as chlorine bleach is an ineffective means of killing the parasite. As for pools, the CDC says anyone suffering diarrhea should avoid swimming until at least two weeks after it subsides.
Swim with your mouth closed!