How To Find “Crypto” at the Local Pool

Why Do You Need to Wear Goggles While Swimming?

There’s nothing like the burn of chlorinated swimming pool water in your eyes, right? My kids always want their goggles.

“When I was kid, our eyes were burning and red all summer, and we liked it!” I’m not sure we did.

Hypochlorous Acid

The chlorinated pool has become a summertime staple. The addition of chlorine creates hypochlorous acid, which sterilizes the pool. That’s right folks, we’re all swimming in acid.

We assume that no disease-causing organisms could survive our lovely acid bath. But some villains are relentless – in particular, the diarrhea causing parasite cryptosporidium. This guy laughs at chlorine. That’s why doctors and public health officials so strongly caution anyone with diarrhea not to enter a swimming pool.


Cryptosporidium only causes about 1-3% of diarrhea cases, and the illness is typically self-limited in healthy people. But if a child with “crypto” enters a pool, the infective oocysts can stay viable in the water for days. Often when cryptosporidium is found to be the culprit in an outbreak of diarrhea, it is associated with a swimming pool that is used by many people – think hotels, neighborhood pools and water parks.

So, what can be done? Don’t drink pool water! Seriously, try to keep your kids from ingesting water particularly if they are swimming in a hotel or public pool. And by all means, don’t let your kid swim if they have the stomach grumpies.

Don’t Let the Water in Your Mouth!

I’m pretty laid back about whether my kids wear goggles or not. But you’ll always hear me warning them not to put the pool water in their mouth.

Just remind them – as a general rule, there could be stool in the pool.

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