Chlorine Resistant Parasite Causing Illness

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NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Kids play in the Dry Dock pool in Mahattan's East Village on the first day of the city's outdoor pool season on June 27, 2013 in New York City. The pool and neighboring buildings were flooded by Superstorm Sandy. The neighborhood is recovering and all 55 public outdoor city pools were able to open today on the first day of the season. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

ARKANSAS (KTHV) –It’s a big weekend for family time in the water. But there’s a parasite that’s popping up in pools and lakes around the state. It’s called cryptosporidium and it’s invisible to the naked eye.

“People get it when they swallow unchlorinated water or even sometimes chlorinated water. So, lake water, river water and even swimming pool water sometimes,” said Kerry Krell with the Arkansas Department of Health.

It takes a few days after swimming for the symptoms to show up. It’s mainly stomach problems that persist like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

“Cryptosporidium primarily affects small children, because they don’t understand that you shouldn’t drink this water,” Krell said.

The microscopic parasite can show up in pools or lakes. Although it’s not typically fatal, people with weak immune systems should be extra careful.

“For the past five years, we’ve averaged about 44 cases a year,” Krell said. “So far this year, we’ve seen 22 cases of crypto.”

Dad Dwayne Perry has the best approach to stay safe.

“Try to keep your mouth closed when you swim,” he said.

So, if you think you’ve been affected, keep the drinking water nearby.

“If you have watery diarrhea, the most important thing to do is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids, and if symptoms get really bad, you should contact your health care provider.”

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