It’s a crypto in­fec­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Health -

IF you are head­ing to the swim­ming pool, or a wa­ter park, stay healthy by keep­ing cryp­tosporid­ium at bay.

Cryp­tosporid­ium (crypto) in­fec­tions are caused by mi­cro­scopic par­a­sites that are spread through drink­ing wa­ter, or recre­ational wa­ter, such as swim­ming pools and hot tubs, and can cause in­testi­nal dis­tress in­clud­ing di­ar­rhoea.

Cryp­tosporid­ium par­a­sites, which live in the in­testines of humans or an­i­mals, are shed in stool. Cryp­tosporid­ium is highly con­ta­gious, but there are ways pro­tect your­self and fam­ily from be­com­ing ill.

“Avoid­ing ac­tiv­i­ties where you might ac­ci­den­tally swal­low some of the wa­ter in the swim­ming pool would be one of the best ways to pre­vent get­ting in­fected,” says Mayo Clinic pae­di­atric in­fec­tious dis­eases spe­cial­ist Dr Nipunie Ra­japakse.

“The im­por­tant thing also to know about how this in­fec­tion is trans­mit­ted or spread from per­son to per­son is that you can ac­tu­ally pass the cryp­tosporid­ium par­a­site in your stool even once your di­ar­rhoea has gone away. We have de­tected it in stool up to two weeks af­ter di­ar­rhoea has got­ten bet­ter.”

Re­view these tips to pre­vent the spread of cryp­tosporid­ium.

● Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with di­ar­rhoea. If di­ar­rhoea is caused by crypto, wait un­til two weeks af­ter di­ar­rhoea has stopped to go swim­ming.

● Don’t swal­low the wa­ter in which you swim.

● Rinse off in the shower be­fore and af­ter get­ting in the wa­ter to help re­move any germs on your body that could con­tam­i­nate the wa­ter.

● Take kids on bath­room breaks of­ten, and check di­a­pers in a di­a­per-chang­ing area – not next to the pool.

● Wash your hands well af­ter us­ing the bath­room and chang­ing di­a­pers.

Cryp­tosporid­ium par­a­sites are one of the more com­mon causes of in­fec­tious di­ar­rhoea in humans, be­cause they are not eas­ily killed by chlo­rine and can sur­vive up to 10 days in prop­erly treated wa­ter.

“The kind of trou­ble­some thing about the cryp­tosporid­ium par­a­site is that it is sur­rounded with kind of a pro­tec­tive cap­sule,” says Ra­japakse. “This makes it pretty re­sis­tant to the usual lev­els of chlo­ri­na­tion that we use in swim­ming pools. There are spe­cial procedures that pools have to do called hy­per­chlo­ri­na­tion if they are found to have this in­fec­tion spread­ing through their pool. But it can be a dif­fi­cult or­gan­ism to get rid of.”

Symp­toms of cryp­tosporid­ium in­clude:

● Watery di­ar­rhoea

● De­hy­dra­tion

● Lack of ap­petite

● Weight loss

● Stom­ach cramps or pain

● Fever

● Nau­sea

In most healthy chil­dren and adults, the symp­toms will re­solve with­out any spe­cific treat­ment within a cou­ple of weeks.

The most im­por­tant thing is to drink plenty of flu­ids and stay well hy­drated.

How­ever, the in­fec­tion can be more se­vere and pro­longed in peo­ple with weak­ened im­mune sys­tems.

These in­di­vid­u­als should dis­cuss their symp­toms with their health­care provider to de­ter­mine if any tests or treat­ment is re­quired. – Mayo Clinic News Net­work

Cryp­tosporid­ium in­fec­tions are spread through drink­ing wa­ter, or recre­ational wa­ter, such as swim­ming pools, and can cause in­testi­nal prob­lems. — TNS

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