Stay healthy while swimming this summer in Eagle County |

Stay healthy while swimming this summer in Eagle County

Sarah Mausolf
Eagle County, CO Colorado

EAGLE, Colorado ” With pool season about to hit full swing in Eagle and Gypsum, Colorado, swimmers should follow a few basic rules to avoid getting sick.

So say officials from downvalley swimming pools, who are raising awareness about recreational water illnesses. Last week marked a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention campaign aimed at preventing those illnesses.

Sheryl Staten, facility manager for the Eagle Pool and Ice Rink, said staff there have been reminding swimmers to observe a few guidelines including:

– Shower before entering the pool

– Make sure young children wear swim diapers plus a plastic cover to avoid leaks

– Never change diapers by the poolside

– To avoid accidents, adults should encourage their children to take regular breaks from swimming to visit the bathroom.

The CDC adds a few more tips for keeping germs out of the pool, including:

– Don’t swim when you have diarrhea

– Don’t swallow pool water

– Wash children thoroughly with soap before they go swimming.

Recreational water illnesses spread when swimmers swallow, breath in the vapors from or have contact with contaminated water, the CDC Web site said.

In Eagle and Gypsum, swimmers should keep proper hygiene in mind when they step into a public pool, hotel pool, hot spring or hot tub, Staten said.

The most common recreational water illnesses in Eagle County include giardia and cryptosporidium, said Becky Larson, an epidemiologist with the Eagle County public health department. Diarrhea, nausea and cramps are symptoms of those diseases, she said. Both are caused by swallowing water contaminated with fecal matter.

“For both of them, most people with healthy immune systems can recover on their own but it can affect some groups more seriously,” Larson said, listing children, pregnant women and swimmers with compromised immune systems among the most vulnerable.

For otherwise healthy folks, giardia typically lasts two to six weeks while cryptosporidium strikes for one to two weeks.

On average, Eagle County reports six cases of giardia and four cases of cryptosporidium each year, Larson said.

“Those are just the confirmed cases,” she said. “It’s very likely that they go undetected because a lot of times people recover without treatment.”

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