What is Crypto and how can it affect me?
“Crypto” (krip-TOE), short for Cryptosporidium, is a germ that
causes diarrhea. This germ is found in the fecal matter of a person
who has been infected by Crypto. It has a tough outer shell that
allows it to survive for a long time in the environment. It can
survive for days even in properly chlorinated pools.
Crypto is one of the most common causes of recreational water
illness (disease caused by germs spread through pool water) in the
United States and can cause prolonged diarrhea (for 1–2 weeks). It
can make anyone sick, but certain groups of people are more likely
to become seriously ill when infected with Crypto:
Individuals with weakened immune systems
How is Crypto spread in pools?
Crypto is spread by swallowing water that has been
contaminated with fecal matter containing Crypto.
You share the water—and the germs in it—with every person who
enters the pool. If one person infected with Crypto has diarrhea in
the water, the water can be contaminated with tens or hundreds of
millions of germs. Swallowing even a small amount of pool water
that has been contaminated with the Crypto germ can make
Crypto can also be spread by swallowing contaminated water from
water parks, interactive fountains, water play areas, hot tubs, lakes,
rivers, springs, ponds, streams, and oceans.
How do I protect myself, my family, and other swimmers?
Take action! Because Crypto can stay alive for days even in well maintained
pools, stopping the germ from getting there in the first
place is essential.
Steps for Healthy Swimming Keep the pee, poop, sweat, and dirt out of the water!
Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea.
Shower before you get in the water.
Don’t pee or poop in the water.
Don’t swallow the water.
Every hour—everyone out!
Take kids on bathroom breaks.
Check diapers, and change them in a bathroom or diaper
changing area—not poolside—to keep germs away from