Experts warn about pool parasite, drowning dangers as holiday weekend approaches

Parasite cryptosporidium can live in pools, lake water

DETROIT – Many Metro Detroit families will head to a pool this weekend to beat the heat, but with the holiday approaching, experts are sharing two important water warnings.

A pool parasite is on the rise, but that's just one worry involving the water. Family gatherings around the Fourth of July are also particularly risky when it comes to drowning.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States for children between the ages of 1 and 4. The majority of those children aren't supposed to be in the water when they drown, experts say.

"For the children that are in that 1 to 4 range, they actually can have an event simply because they're not being watched," said Dr. Eva Love, a Cleveland Clinic pediatrician. "I think the most important thing is we understand someone who is paying attention and aware at all times of where their child is, because that is the No. 1 reason for those children to have a drowning event."

At family gatherings, parents should have a designated adult to focus on watching the small children, experts said. They should make sure safety measures are in place around pools and always keep small backyard pools empty and deflated when they're not being used.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning parents about a pool parasite called cryptosporidium, or crypto. It can live in pools and lake water.

"Even in a pool that's treated properly, crypto can still survive for up to a week," Love said.

CDC Dr. Radhika Gharpure said doctors have noticed an in crease in crypto outbreaks.

"We looked at data from 2009 through 2017 and found the crypto outbreaks increased an average of 13% per year," Gharpure said.

To reduce the risk, wear goggles, don't swallow water and when parents or children get out of the water, shower off immediately, experts say.

Most drowning incidents involving adults around this time of year involve alcohol and jumping or falling off boats, officials said. Experts recommend staying off the water or wearing a life jacket to anyone who plans to overindulge.

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