Water-Related Illnesses and Safe Swimming Practices

Published in Wellness

Summertime brings fun and sunshine. With this hot weather many of us are seeking to cool off in the local swimming pool or lake. We need to remember that recreational water illnesses also increase in summer and early fall.


Cryptosporidium is one of the most common waterborne diseases in our country, and is most often found in recreational water and drinking water.

Symptoms of this disease include:

  • watery diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • stomach cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • slight fever

Symptoms usually occur three-14 days after exposure and for most people, shedding of this germ ceases within two weeks after symptoms go away. Most healthy people can recover without any treatment. However, if vomiting and diarrhea continue, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Swimming Safety

Remember to try to not swallow water or get water in your mouth while swimming whenever possible. You should take a shower before and after swimming. Do not swim if you have diarrhea. If you are diagnosed with Crypto, do not go swimming for at least two weeks after your diarrhea stops. You can pass Crypto in your stool and contaminate water for several weeks after your symptoms have ended.

I have to go…

While swimming, take kids on frequent bathroom breaks. Waiting until you hear, “I have to go” may mean it is already too late. Finally, change diapers in changing rooms, not poolside or on the beach. Always wash your hands after changing diapers. And remember, if you have someone in your house who is sick, wash your hands more often and clean and disinfect surfaces immediately after vomiting or diarrheal accidents.

Have a fun summer, and remember to be safe out there!