LANSING, Mich. — As the days are heating up, more and more people are heading out to the community pool.
And with more people diving in, the Center for Disease Control is seeing an increase in a parasite that can make people sick.
It's called Cryptosporidium or 'Crypto' and it is a fecal parasite that can live for days in swimming pools. Cases have gone up about 13 percent each year since 2009, and that's got local pools are being extra careful.
"We are taking these safety steps on a daily basis and we do take them seriously," Brett Kaschinske, the Director of Parks and Recreation for City of Lansing said.
That means the pools in Lansing are tested each day to determine the chlorine and pH levels in addition to monthly tests by the DEQ for parsites, like Crypto. The CDC says the rise in cases is enough for a warning, but also could be because of new testing technology, something local pools rely on.
"I think anytime when we have the technology that we have now, it allows us to know about these things and we know how to treat them. We see the trends going on. Yes, we take steps and we look at that as an industry about what to do with pools and how to cover yourself and the patrons that use the pool."
Symptoms of Crypto include diarrhea, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and more. Doctors say it is usually spread through someone drinking infected water, like from a pool.
"What happens is that somebody might have some stool in the swimming pool has kind of what's been talked about recently and if you swallow that water you can actually ingest that," Nurse Practioner Deanna Wennberg explained.
And once that happens, pools would need to be shut down and cleaned to prevent it from spreading. That's because Crypto can be hard to get rid of and is extremely tolerant of chlorine. Kaschinske says he doesn't know of any cases happening in Lansing and wants to keep in that way.
"When the weather heats up and you have more people out and it's more of a vacation week for folks because it's the Fourth of July, we know we want to offer that safety. It's important to let people know our safety standards and testing and protocols we go through," he said.
To protect yourself, doctors say try not to drink the water when swimming and encourage your kids to do the same. In addition, make sure your kids have the right swim diapers and if you feel sick, stay at home.
For more information from the CDC, click here.
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