A word of warning before using hotel pools this summer

They're the most common setting for water-borne diseases.
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When the temperatures hit 90 one of the first thoughts entering Minnesotan heads is finding some water to cool off.

But before dipping your toe into a hotel or community pool, there are some stats you should be aware of.

The Centers for Disease Control revealed earlier this month that in a study of nearly 500 outbreaks of water-borne diseases reported between 2000 and 2014, a third of them came from hotel pools and hot tubs.

These outbreaks in turn led to more than 27,000 people being infected by various water-borne diseases, the most common of which is the particularly nasty Cryptosporidium bug – known as "crypto."

Crypto is contracted in a particularly gross way, because it involves someone sick with the parasite leaking diarrhea into the water, which other swimmers then swallow.

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The germ is so hardy that it can survive even in highly-chlorinated pools, and when contracted it can lead to weeks of diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting.

That's why the CDC is issuing a warning to parents in particularly not to let their children into public pools if they have diarrhea.

The most recent figures for Minnesota, for the years 2013-14, showed 7 outbreaks of water-borne disease, of which 5 happened in hotel pools.

Two of those involved crypto, infecting 13 people in total, but the most widespread outbreak was of chloramines, which form when chlorine chemicals in water bind with human body waste.

This caused 71 people to be sickened at a Minnesota hotel pool in March 2014.

We're entering the most common time to contract a disease from treated public pools, with the months June-August accounting for half of the annual water-borne outbreaks nationally.

Other common water diseases include Legionella and Pseudomonas, those these more commonly occur in pools that are not properly treated and disinfected.

The CDC has some guidance for pool users.

  • Don't swim or let your kids swim with diarrhea.
  • Check the pool, hot tub and water playground inspection scores.
  • Before getting in the water, use a test strip from your local retailer or pool supply store to check if the water’s pH and bromine or free chlorine level are correct.
  • Don’t swallow the water.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks hourly, and change diapers in a diaper-changing area and away from the water.

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