WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It's a germ that's chlorine resistant called cryptosporidium, and it can get you and your kids sick this Summer.
The Palm Beach County Health Department says its had five confirmed cases of people getting sick from the crypto parasite so far this year. Martin County has had two cases, but there is no link between the cases or an identified source.
The health department does not routinely test swimming pools for cryptosporidium because there's no test kit for it. It's not an easy germ to kill, but there is a way to try and keep it out of your pool this Summer.
It's not something you want to think about when you're heading to a water park or public swimming pool.
"Someone has a fecal matter incident that occurs in the pool, diarrhea, or just not washing properly before they go in the pool. Then, if you the pool gets infected and you have a mouthful of it you get sick," said Steve Adler, owner of Pool Guys of Palm Beach.
Adler said the best way to deal with crypto is to take action right away if you notice someone has had bathroom accident in the pool.
"When we have a daycare facility or one of the community pools that do we have fecal incident, we have them shut down the pool and at that time we super chlorinate the pool, which is bringing the chlorine level up extremely high, higher than anyone can swim in it," said Adler.
You can do the same. Adler said get everyone out of the pool and chlorinate three to four times higher, then don't let anyone back in until levels return to normal.
The parasite gets you sick when you swallow contaminated water. The symptoms are diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain, and they can start two to seven days after you're infected.
"Try to stay hydrated, keep up with your water loss. The FDA has approved a medication, but you have to see your physician," said Dr. Don Tanabe of MD Now Urgent Care in Palm Beach Gardens.
Adler said you should always shower before getting in the pool.
You can look up your neighborhood pool or local public pool on a
Health Department database here.
It won't tell you if it's ever been tested for crypto, but it can tell you if the last tests were satisfactory or not.