Do you want to hear a scary story? There once was a parasite called Cryptosporidium…STOP! If you have a Marquis® hot tub, you have an ozonator and if you manage your water, you have nothing to fear. Good practices and common sense hygiene will keep you crypto free. Cryptosporidium are more common in pools and public water parks than they are in the hot tub.
It sounds scary because it’s all over the internet and alerts are going out about it, but it is very preventable and often occurs in public water, not residential hot tubs. Current headlines say watch for Cryptosporidium outbreaks, but those reminders list public water parks, pools and even lakes. Its summer, visiting the public pool or swimming in that nearby lake are tempting when the temperatures climb for weeks on end. If you just take a moment to read up on what it is, how you get it and how you can prevent it, you’ll see you have nothing to worry about if you follow some basic guidelines.
What is Cryptosporidium?
Cryptosporidium is a parasitic infection that causes illness, often in young children, but can affect anyone. The most common symptom is diarrhea, but may result in abdominal cramping and vomiting. Transmission of the parasite is found in very common things, such as soil, food or water that has been contaminated with human or animal waste which carries the parasite. Food handlers who do not wash hands after bathroom breaks and handle food are notorious for spreading the parasite as are children in public pools who do not take “potty breaks” often enough.
How can I get Cryptosporidium?
Often attributed to “something I ate” this illness will usually resolve itself in a matter of 2-14 days, dependent on exposure. Consumption of contaminated food or drinking contaminated water is how most people contract the illness. 3 out of 4 people have been exposed to it if living in the United States, so it is very common. Often contracted up in public waterparks, petting zoos, even public drinking fountains, it stems from poor hygiene.
What will kill Cryptosporidium?
Remember when Mom would say “Wash up before dinner.” This was a good idea and a way of practicing good hygiene. Washing up and removing soil from your hands before moving them to your mouth has always been a good health practice.
For the most part, Crypto is common to public areas and not as prevalent in residential hot tubs. Remember the parasite is attributed to human waste and is not killed by normal sanitizers such as chlorine. Ozone has been proven to get rid of Crypto, so if you have ozone on your hot tub make sure it is functional. Ozone is a powerful oxidizer and will kill bacteria on contact. If you don’t have one, it’s a good idea to get one, call your local retailer for more information.
Tips for avoiding Cryptosporidium
Follow these basic guidelines and you can avoid this pesky parasite:
- Wash your hands:
- After a bathroom break
- Preparing food
- Before eating
- After changing a diaper
- At pools, avoid swallowing water or taking in water in your mouth
- Avoid the following when traveling to outside the U.S.
- Unpasteurized milk or dairy
- Raw, unwashed fruits
- Foods purchased from street vendors
- If you already have signs of a digestive illness
- Stay out of the public water areas for up to 2 weeks after your illness
- Avoid coming in contact with people who have decreased immune systems
- Keep an eye on small children
- Children should be taken for “potty breaks” both publicly and privately
- If your child has diarrhea, keep them out of water for at least 2 weeks
- Watch where “little hands” go, into dirt, then into mouths, it can make them sick
Healthy Water, Happy Hot Tubbing
Cryptosporidium contraction is very preventable. This is as much about what you bring into the hot tub as well as how you maintain it. A quick rinse off before you get into your hot tub reduces the bacteria, hair products and sweat deposited into the hot tub. Owning a hot tub with a great sanitizing system and an ozonator, make it much easier to eliminate the threat of Cryptosporidium. Keeping your water clean will give you a better experience, the ultimate experience. Learn more about Hot Tub Water Care.