Heading to the pool or water park? You may want to read up on “Crypto”
-- it’s caused by a parasite found in water that can make you pretty
sick. The worst? Chlorine can’t get rid of it! Dr. Amanda Watts,
a family medicine physician, fills you in on what you need to know to
steer clear of this nasty bug.
Q: What is “crypto”?
A: The full name is Cryptosporidiosis, and it’s caused by microscopic
parasites, most commonly found in water. It’s a germ that causes
symptoms similar to a stomach bug –diarrhea, cramping, nausea, –
and may start anywhere from 2 to 10 days after being infected. Symptoms
can last about 1 – 2 weeks, which is longer than a typical stomach bug.
Q: How is crypto spread?
A: The short answer is through the fecal-oral route. An infected person “sheds”
the germs in their fecal matter, and can continue to do so even after
symptoms stop.So that means you could swallow pool water that is contaminated
with it, or touch your mouth with contaminated hands after swimming.
Q: What can I do to prevent crypto?
A: Believe it or not, chlorine does not keep this parasite away! So first,
if you or your child has had diarrhea – stay out of the pool! That
is key as you don’t want to spread Crypto to other people. If you
can, shower after swimming; or at the minimum, wash your hands. The swallowing
water issue is a tough one with kids, but just keep working with them
on keeping their mouths closed while swimming.
Q: What should I do if I think I have crypto?
A: The main thing you want to do as with any time you have diarrhea is to
drink plenty of fluids. If your symptoms persist or you are not able to
stay hydrated, you’ll definitely want to see your doctor.
Amanda Watts, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Bella Family Medicine
Phone: (225) 272-0106