Salt Lake Valley Health Department
Keep it Clean - No Crypto
What Can You Do To Help Stop Crypto?
Cryptosporidiosis or “Crypto” is a disease that causes severe watery diarrhea and can last for 2 weeks or more. The microscopic parasite that causes crypto lives in the intestine of the infected person.
Up to a billion crypto germs can be released in a single bowel movement (watery diarrhea). So imagine if someone infected with crypto goes swimming, and then has an accident in the swimming pool. That’s right: 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) crypto germs are now in the pool.
You might say, “Well, not a big deal – the chlorine will kill the crypto germs, right?” Not exactly! Crypto can live in a chlorinated pool for several days. And guess what? It only takes getting a few germs in your mouth to make you sick.
Now imagine spending the next two weeks with explosive diarrhea that comes and goes with no warning at all. You can’t go anywhere because you don’t know when the diarrhea might hit, and when it hits there is nothing you can do about it.
You become dehydrated from all the fluid you are losing with the diarrhea. You suffer from stomach cramps and pains that are almost unbearable. Not only do you feel horrible, but you have a mountain of soiled underwear, clothes and linens that need to be cleaned.
This is your life for the next two weeks. It’s not fun; in fact, it’s down right awful. All this just because of a few crypto germs you swallowed at the pool.
Crypto can be very contagious. Learn how to protect yourself, your family, and others from becoming infected with crypto.
First, it is important to understand that crypto is spread when water or other surfaces become contaminated with feces from an infected person or animal. A person then accidentally swallows contaminated water or puts something in their mouth that is contaminated and becomes infected.
To prevent against becoming infected with crypto follow these tips:
- Wash your hands with soap and water after using the toilet, changing a diaper, and before eating or preparing food.
- Do not swim if you have diarrhea and wait 2 weeks after the diarrhea has stopped before swimming.
- When swimming, do not swallow the water and avoid getting the water in your mouth.
- Take a shower with soap and water, before swimming. Make sure and clean your bottom. The small amounts of fecal material left on your bottom after using the toilet will wash off in the pool water if not washed off before getting into the pool.
- Take frequent bathroom breaks while swimming and make sure small children do the same.
- Change diapers in the bathroom, and not at the pool side.
- After changing a diaper, wash your hands and your child’s bottom thoroughly with soap and water.
- If you do have a fecal accident in the pool – report it immediately.
If you have any questions about cryptosporisosis that isn’t answered here or you would just like more information on how to prevent it, contact the Salt Lake County Health Department at 385-468-3862 or call your local health department.