A good swim in the pool during hot climates are great for you in every way. Besides refreshing yourself, you can get good physical exercise under your belt as well. However, there are pitfalls of taking a swim, whether you go to the public swimming pool in your local area or in a more private setting. And one of them is cryptosporidiosis. Here are some of the problems associated with this condition.
What Is Cryptosporidiosis?
Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that has the ability to live in human and animal intestines. If you’re infected by this parasite, it passes through your stools. Commonly known as crypto, it is protected by an outer shell that serves 2 main purposes – it allows the parasite to survive for long periods outside the body and makes it highly resistant to chlorine-based disinfectants.
During just a single bowel movement of an infected human or animal, millions of crypto germs get released. Crypto parasites can be found in soil, food, water, or any other surfaces that have been contaminated with feces from an infected human or animal. However, it does not spread by contact with blood. Today, crypto is recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne diseases throughout the world.
Symptoms Of Cryptosporidiosis
To begin with, people who are infected with crypto may not exhibit any symptoms at all. While your small intestine is the most commonly affected site, there’s every chance that crypto infections can affect your digestive and respiratory tract too.
Once you get infected, the symptoms of cryptosporidiosis only begin to show up about 2 to 10 days after the onset of the infection. This could be considered as 7 days on an average. If you have a healthy immune system, these symptoms usually last for about 1 or 2 weeks.
Alternatively, the symptoms may rotate in cycles wherein you may feel better for a few days and end up feeling worse again after that. The most common symptom of cryptosporidiosis is watery diarrhea. Other symptoms include the following:
- Stomach cramps or pain
- Lack of appetite
- Weight loss
How Is Cryptosporidiosis Contracted?
As discussed earlier, an infected person or animal sheds crypto parasites in the stool. Here are some of the ways in which you can get infected:
- Putting something in your mouth or accidentally swallowing something that has come in contact with the stool of a crypto-infected person or animal
- Swallowing recreational water like the water in swimming pools, hot tubs, jacuzzis, fountains, lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, and streams that are contaminated with crypto (this water can get contaminated with sewage or feces from humans or animals)
- Swallowing water or beverages contaminated with stool from infected humans or animals
- Eating uncooked food contaminated with crypto
- Contaminating your hands with a variety of activities such as touching surfaces like toys, bathroom fixtures, and changing tables that have been contaminated by stool from an infected person
- Touching your mouth with contaminated hands
- Changing diapers, caring for an infected person, and handling an infected cow or calf
- Exposure to human feces through sexual contact
Who Is At An Increased Risk?
- People exposed to contaminated water
- Those infected by HIV or AIDS
- Parents of infected children
- Child care workers
- Animal handlers
- People engaging in oral-to-anal sexual activity
- International travelers, especially those traveling to developing countries
- Backpackers, hikers, and campers who drink untreated, unfiltered water
- Swimmers who swallow water in pools, lakes, and rivers
- People who drink water from shallow, unprotected wells
- Children, particularly those wearing diapers, who attend childcare centers
Complications Associated With Cryptosporidiosis
Cryptosporidiosis isn’t a life-threatening infection on its own. But, if you have a weak immune system or a transplant, there’s every chance that you may develop some dangerous complications such as these:
- Malnutrition because of a poor absorption of nutrients from your intestinal tract, or malabsorption
- Significant weight loss
- Severe dehydration
- Inflammation of your bile duct – the passage between your liver, gallbladder, and small intestine
- Inflammation of your gallbladder, liver, or pancreas
You may also develop severe symptoms and a chronic, persistent form of a crypto disease that may be difficult to treat in the long run.
Diagnosis And Treatment Of Cryptosporidiosis
The 2 most important tests used to diagnose a cryptosporidium infection are the acid-staining test and the stool culture test. While there isn’t a specific form of treatment for a crypto infection, you could choose from multiple treatment techniques like using anti-parasitic drugs, anti-motility agents, fluid replacement, and antiretroviral therapies.Your ability to recover from a crypto infection depends on the overall health of your immune system.
Your ability to recover from a crypto infection depends on the overall health of your immune system. So eat healthy and workout often to keep your immunity strong.