Summer health: Preventing parasites in pools - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Summer health: Preventing parasites in pools

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Warmer weather and kids getting out of school for summer mean busy swimming pools, but the warm, moist environment of public pools makes it a prime spot for bacteria and water-bourne illnesses to spread.

One such disease-causing bacteria, Cryptosporidium, was cause for concern in Iowa recently. In 2007, more than 600 cases were reported in the state. That number more than tripled the previous record.

Some eastern Iowa pools are adding extra safety measures to keep bacteria and parasites out of the pool. Both Dubuque city pools, Flora and Sutton, added ultraviolet disifecting systems this year.

"All the water has to pass through that before it gets reentered back to the pool to make sure it's clear of any chemicals the chlorine may have missed, which doesn't usually happen," Flora Pool manager Andrea Griswold said.

Flora started using UV Technology last year in its smaller pools, but this year, they're integrating that technology into the larger pool as well. UV light kills parasites like crypto and giardia, and works with the chlorine processing.

"The UV and the chlorine work really well together to get anything out of our water we wouldn't want there."

The UV system isn't on yet; the city is waiting a little longer for chlorine levels to stabilize. They say that should happen within a couple of weeks. Meantime, managers say, just keep swimming because chlorine is a good disinfectant.

"It was very safe and very clean to begin with, with just the chlorine and other chemicals, but with other things going on like Crypto or people started hearing about h1n1 influenza, it's just an added precaution to keep everybody at ease that this is a safe and clean facility," Griswold said.

Infants and toddlers account for around one third of Crypto cases each year.

The Centers for Disease Control has these tips to prevent water-bourne disease.

-- Don't swim if you're sick.

-- Don't swallow pool water.

-- Shower before swimming.

-- Take kids on bathroom breaks and check swim diapers often.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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