March 27, 2017

Summer is rapidly approaching and we know that everyone likes to swim. This means that parents need to be attuned to safety and security for their little guppies.

Infections in pools are unfortunately all too common. Chlorine kills most germs, but cannot kill Cryptosporidium that accounts for more than 50% of outbreaks in an average year. This happens when young children, especially toddlers, enter a swimming pool and leak loose stool into the water while they are infected.

Other bacteria like eschericia coli and salmonella are chlorine sensitive. This implies then that the pool did not have adequate chlorination to kill the pathogens if you get sick after swimming.

Chlorine is inactivated by heat and the sun, making kiddie pools especially risky for transmission.

Simple rules to follow:

1) Do not have a child swim if they have had diarrhea in the past WEEK. The asymptomatic previously infected child can shed the organism for up to a week post last diarrheal stool.

2) Have toddlers and infants shower before swimming. Wash the peri-rectal area carefully.

3) Take frequent bathroom breaks and check for fecal matter.

4) Teach your kids not to drink the pool water. Not good from a chemical ingestion perspective or a pathogen.

Finally, drowning is far to common in young toddlers and children. With the modern distracted parent holding a cell phone, kids are at greater risk then ever to drown. If you bring your child to a pool to enjoy the beauty of swimming, keep all distractions in a bag and in silent mode while swimming.

Dr. M

Infectious Disease Article