Avoid the Crypto factor on holiday

All sorts of things can lurk in and around the pool on holiday, but the one pest you don’t want bugging you is a nasty little parasite called cryptosporidium – crypto for short.

Cryptosporidiosis is a gastric infection caused by ingesting water or food contaminated with faeces. It can easily be spread among holidaymakers if swimmers do not shower before or after using the pool – or use the pool when they have a stomach upset.

Small children wearing soiled nappies can also cause crypto – and the parasitic infection can be hard to clear from pools, as it can be resistant to chemicals like chlorine.

You may recall instances when the hotel pool or local baths at home were shut for disinfecting. It is likely a crypto infection had developed – and in the case of hotel pools, when in doubt, don’t use them.

The symptoms of cryptosporidium are typical of holiday illnesses – and include fever, headache, stomach cramps, and sickness and diarrhoea.

Diarrhoea is often watery and this can cause dehydration, so if you are ill for 48 hours with no sign of improvement, it’s time to see the doctor.

Like salmonella, crypto symptoms can disappear and return, so a medical diagnosis is important – long-term gastrointestinal infections can lead to inflammation of the gut, which can cause irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. And these illnesses can last a lifetime.


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Swimmers who take part in wild swimming in lakes and rivers can be especially susceptible to crypto infections if water is contaminated – this can happen if water is near grazing land or a sewage outlet. The ingestion of this contaminated water is dangerous and easy to do when wild swimming.

Anyone who is in close contact with someone infected with crypto is also at increased risk, so extra hygiene measures like washing hands and avoiding close contact is also important.

Crypto can be especially serious in children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, so always see a doctor as soon as possible in these cases. Medication can be given – usually Azithromycin and over-the-counter drugs like domperidone to stop sickness or loperamide to help stop diarrhoea.

We often hear about holidaymakers who have been abroad and witnessed some number 2 accidents in the swimming pool. If this happens to you always tell a member of staff and ensure they close the swimming pool down while they treat the water. Also don’t go in the pool if they open it back up quickly. This would probably mean the chemicals haven’t had a chance to work properly and you could still get infected.

The cryptosporidium holiday sickness bug is one of the most common holiday illnesses around and mostly infects people via the swimming pool. Claim the compensation you deserve if you have been infected with the use of a specialist holiday illness lawyer.

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