COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Get ready to dive in!
Several community pools will be opening for the season this Memorial Day weekend, but a new report that shows a rise in pool-linked infections may have you rethinking your pool-side habits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 there were 16 outbreaks of infections linked to swimming pools. In 2016, there were twice as many. Ellen Lee is president of Atlantic, a pool-cleaning company in Lugoff.
"Cryptosporidium is a parasite and it's generally found in water after a fecal matter accident has occurred," Lee said.
Her company is responsible for testing chlorine and PH levels in pools to lower the chances of infection.
"You always want to keep your chlorine level at a 3.0 ppm to avoid cryptosporidium," Lee said.
There are other steps you can take for extra precaution.
"Always do bathroom breaks with your children. Always be sure they're in clean swimwear," says Lee.
More importantly, never swallow pool water, and check for obvious signs.
"If you come up with a pool that has cloudy water or you notice little algae somewhere, you might want to have a second thought about getting into that pool," Lee said.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has strict guidelines in place for all commercial pools to follow.
"A certified pool operator has to visit a commercial facility three times a week," Lee said.
If you are unsure if your local pool is sticking to those guidelines, Lee says there are ways to double check.
"They are required to have a log of what the readings of your PH, alkalinity, and chlorine are. You can ask to see that log if you want to."
Just a mouthful of this contaminated water can cause up to three weeks of nausea, stomach cramps, or vomiting.