CDC issues warning about parasites in pools, lakes

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- There's something in the water. Well, there could be.

The Centers for Disease Control is now issuing warnings about parasites found in pools and lakes that make people sick.

A Guilford County Department of Health representative told FOX8 they usually see about 12 cases involving the Cryptosporidium parasite each year.

So far in 2019, they haven't heard of one yet.

But you still need to be careful.

It's summertime and a way to beat the heat is spending the day splashing away at pools.

Camron Kelly frequently takes her kids to Lindley Park Recreation Center in Greensboro.

"We try to come around open to close. We try to do the whole day," she said.

She keeps an eye out when her kids are in the water.

"We spend a lot of time here, so we don't want to see anything bad floating in the pool," Kelly said.

Tanner Diesch, with the City of Greensboro, says just because you don't see anything it doesn't mean it's not there.

"One of the big things the CDC is concerned about is Cryptosporidium and Recreation Water Illnesses," he explains.

Those are scientific terms for parasites and bacteria that can be found naturally in any body of water.

"If you've had stomach problems or diarrhea in the past two weeks, you shouldn't be in the water," Diesch said. "That's the number one way Crypto gets spread in the water."

Stomach issues and nausea are also symptoms of the illness.

"We go through and test the chlorine in the water. We also test the pH to see how effective the chlorine is," Diesch said. "We check three times a day."

But Diesch says everyone needs to do their part, like following pool rules about showering before jumping in and washing hands after using the bathroom.

Those are some things that people often forget or just don't know.

"I don't shower before the pool," Kelly admitted.

She said she's now going to reconsider how she prepares for a trip to the pool.

She hopes more people pay attention so they can stay safe and have fun.

"I guess if you're going to go to a public pool, I think it's something you need to be aware of," Kelly said. "Talk to your kids about cleanliness and keep them clean."

Pool staff does not test for the Crypto parasite on a regular basis. It's only done when there is fear of an outbreak.

If you want to make sure public pools are safe to swim in, ask to see the Health Department certificate and question of how frequently the water is tested.

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