Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Pools, hot tubs can harbor unsafe germs

Pools, hot tubs can harbor unsafe germs

Hotel swimming pools and hot tubs can be a major source of these outbreaks, the Centers for Disease control and Prevention said. Hot tubs, spas, and water playgrounds were some of the other settings for breakouts.

Between 2000 and 2014, the CDC recorded 493 cases of disease outbreaks related to "recreational water" - that is, pools, hot tubs, and water rides (water parks were also included in the calculations). The number of respiratory disease outbreaks caused by Legionella increased over time and skin infection outbreaks caused by Pseudomonas decreased over time. A third of those were traced back to hotel pools and hot tubs.

The report describes mixed progress in preventing outbreaks caused by germs spread through treated recreational water.

The CDC said swimmers can take serval steps to protect themselves, including avoiding pools if suffering from diarrhea, avoiding swallowing water, and checking a hotel or water park's most recent inspection scores.

Pools, hot tubs and water playgrounds may be synonymous with summertime fun, but they also can be breeding grounds for unsafe germs that could make you violently ill.

Fifty-eight percent of the total outbreaks were caused by Cryptosporidium, which causes gastrointestinal illness. Legionella can lead to severe pneumonia and flu-like symptoms, while Pseudomonas can result in "hot tub rash" and swimmers' ear, the CDC said. Of the confirmed outbreaks, 43% were caused by Pseudomonas, 31% by Legionella, and 18% by Cryptosporidium.

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The most important way to prevent these outbreaks is to educate swimmers. "Pools that use something called the model aquatic health code that CDC developed go beyond Chlorination", said Dr. Dorevitch.

Some people are more likely to get sick from Legionella, including people 50 years or older, current or former smokers, people with chronic lung disease, and people with a weakened immune system.

Not swimming or letting your children swim when sick with diarrhea.

Take kids on bathroom breaks hourly, and change diapers in a diaper-changing area and away from the water. "If Crypto is confirmed, it's essential to remain out of the water for two weeks".

The CDC said Legionella and Pseudomonas can live in a biofilm that develops when a pool, hot tub or water playground is not cleaned properly. A new report by the CDC warns that some infectious bacteria are resistant to chlorine.

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