Spike in illnesses has health officials warning of precautions at swimming pools

Pool season is back, but a spike in illnesses has health officials saying you need to protect yourself and your children before taking a dip, especially at a public pool.

"One of the main things people need to be concerned with when they go to the pool is crypto," Dan Suffoletto, public information supervisor for Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County, told News Center 7’s Malik Perkins on Wednesday.

"Crypto is a disease that can get into the pool and it can cause diarrhea," he said.

Crypto, short for cryptosporidium, is caused by microscopic parasites that can live in the intestines. The parasite can spread when swallowing something that has come into contact with the feces of a sick person, such as pool water contaminated with diarrhea.

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A new study by the Centers for Disease Control found cases of crypto doubled between 2014 and 2016.

To prevent spreading diseases, health officials say you should stay out of the water if you're feeling ill. Parents and guardians should monitor children’s health before taking them swimming.

"If you're sick or have any open wounds, you don't want to use the pool," Suffoletto said.

Having a clean pool can also decrease the chances for illness.

Kay Williamson, with local pool supply store Knickerbocker Pools & Spas, says you should vacuum prior to adding chemicals in order to get the leaves and organic material out of the water. Afterward, add chlorine and do a test to make sure you have the right balance.

"That way the pool water is sanitized and safe for you to swim in," Williamson said. "The PH is going to read a level between 7.4 and 7.6. That way is doesn't irritate your skin or eyes."

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