For families traveling with young kids, some of the best memories are made at the hotel’s pool. The CDC has a new report on waterborne illness outbreaks that might have parents thinking twice before letting their kids jump in. Jamie Ducharme says the study found about one-third of outbreaks were traced back to hotel pools and hot tubs between 2000 and 2014:

Of the outbreaks with a confirmed cause, the vast majority — 94% — were due to pathogens, while the remaining outbreaks were caused by chemicals.


The most common offending organism causing recreational water outbreaks was the parasite Cryptosporidium. We’ve covered Crypto before on The PediaBlog, learning two important facts about the illness that causes profuse, watery diarrhea for days-to-weeks in most, along with abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, dehydration, and weight loss for some:

• More than 1 in 5 (21.6%) of American adults do not know swimming while ill with diarrhea can heavily contaminate water in which we swim and make other swimmers sick.

• Cryptosporidium (or Crypto) is an extremely chlorine-tolerant parasite that can survive in a properly chlorinated pool for 3.5–10.6 days.


It’s not just diarrhea that might make you and your children feel sick. The CDC’s report points to respiratory symptoms from Legionella and skin rashes (“hot tub rash” and otitis externa, an infection of the ear canal) from Pseudomonas bacteria as other symptoms that may occur by swimming in a pool, soaking in a hot tub, or splashing at a water park contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms. It’s worth heeding all the suggestions we’ve offered before:

> Don’t let your children swim if they are having diarrhea.

> Tell children to keep their mouths closed in the pool and hot tub.

> Shower before AND after swimming to rinse off any potential germy contaminates.

> Make sure to include a bathroom break or two for younger kids.

> Check swim diapers often, and not right next to the pool. (If your infant, toddler, or untrained preschooler poops like clockwork, don’t take him swimming until after his internal clock tells him to evacuate his colon.)

> Wash all hands thoroughly with soap and water before visiting the snack bar and handling and eating any food.