NORTH CAROLINA -- Swimmers should be extra careful before heading to the pool this Memorial Day because the Centers for Disease Control Prevention has issued a warning about a dangerous parasite linked to public pools and water parks.
The parasite is called cryptosporidium, or crypto, and it can contaminate a pool very quickly, WSOC reports.
Officials said the parasite is spread through feces.
"If someone has a diarrhea incident in the water, and someone else comes around and swallows that contaminated water, it spreads," said Michele Hlavsa, chief of the CDC's Healthy Swimming Program.
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Hlavsa said when a person swallows contaminated water, they could have diarrhea that lasts up to three weeks, and since it's mostly young people who swallow pool water, parents need to teach their children about water safety.
Public pools and water parks need to undergo daily testing to make sure the water is clean and safe.
To make sure your family has a safe and healthy summer at the pool, just follow a few CDC safety tips.
"So, really, this is just a reminder to everyone (that) we have to be smarter about how we swim, and swim healthy, not swim with diarrhea and not swallow the water we swim in," Hlavsa said.
The CDC also recommends that parents make sure young people shower before they get into the water. It also said if you take young children to the pool, make sure you take them to the bathroom frequently as a precaution.
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CDC WARNING: Dangerous parasite could be lurking in public pools, water parks
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