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How To Stay Clear Of Germs At The Pool

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- With the hot, muggy days we are having, kids will be heading to the pools to cool off.

It's fun and good exercise, but even chlorinated pools have germs that can make you sick. We spoke with a pediatrician on Wednesday about water illnesses.

Dr. Thomas Boyce from the Mayo Clinic Children's Center said a swimming pool is basically a community bathtub without the shampoo. That sometimes isn't a pleasant thought.

You can still get sick in a properly chlorinated pool because chlorine does not kill germs instantly. Recreational water illness outbreaks peak in the summer. The main culprit is a parasite Crypto-sporidium, which is associated with gastro-intestinal illness.

"Each year there are about 50 recreational water-borne illness outbreaks, and crypto is the most common causing a third of outbreaks.  And what are the symptoms?  The symptons are diarrhea, vomiting, low-grade fever.  Those are the main symptoms," Boyce said.

Here's how to avoid getting sick from exposure to these water-borne illnesses: Don't swallow the water you swim in. Shower before you swim. Don't swim if you have diarrhea. The germs may still be on you, despite showering. Do frequent diaper checks, and change diapers in the bathroom away from the pool.

If you end up sick after being in a pool, see your doctor. It may be treatable with medication.

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