GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a blunt warning: “Keep the pee, poop, sweat, and dirt out of the water.”
The strong message is especially timely given a recent report from the CDC regarding a diarrhea-causing parasite called Crypstoporidum -- a leading cause of waterborne disease.
The report shows health officials from 32 states and Puerto Rico reported 90 recreational water-associated outbreaks.
The outbreaks resulted in at least 1,788 cases, 95 hospitalizations and one death.
The report adds that half of all treated recreational water-associated outbreaks during the same year were caused by Crypstoporidum.
The parasite should be of particular concern because it can survive outside the body for long periods of time and its outer shell makes it tolerant to chlorine disinfection.
"Most of the harmful pathogens, or parasites, or bacteria that might be in water will not transfer through your skin, but they will transfer through ingesting of the water. That's why you typically tell folks you just don't really want to drink pool water,” said Paula Cox, environmental health manager for the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services.
Facilities will often ask people to shower before and after being in the pool to limit the spread of germs.
Pool operators should check the pool chemistry daily because chlorine levels can change frequently.
Cox says the health department does not post grade cards for the pools as it does for restaurants, but you should be able to go online and see if a pool is permitted.
"And when in doubt you can always ask to see any paperwork they have,” she said.
"It's the public's access to those pools, they can ask for it."