The City of Lubbock Health Department has seen an increase in reports of recreational water illnesses (RWIs) including Cryptosporidium (Crypto). RWIs are caused by germs spread by swallowing or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, water play areas, and natural bodies of water such as lakes.


RWIs account for a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea.

Contrary to popular belief, chlorine does not kill all germs instantly. There are germs today that are very tolerant to chlorine. Once these germs get in the pool, it can take anywhere from minutes to days for chlorine to kill them. Swallowing just a little water that contains these germs can make you sick.

Related: Cryptosporidium: Outbreaks linked to swimming pools double since 2014

In the past two decades, there has been a substantial increase in the number of RWI outbreaks associated with swimming. Crypto, which can stay alive for days even in well-maintained pools, has become the leading cause of swimming pool-related outbreaks of diarrheal illness.

Protect yourself, your family and your friends from germs in the water. Follow these 4 easy steps to help keep germs out of the water:

  • Stay out of the water if you have diarrhea. If diarrhea is caused by Crypto, wait at least two weeks, after the diarrhea has stopped, to go swimming.
  • Shower before getting in the water. This helps to remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the water.
  • Don’t pee or poo in the water. Take kids on bathroom breaks often, and check diapers in a diaper-changing area and not right next to the pool.
  • Don’t swallow the water.