Officials with the Wyoming Department of Health [WDH] are warning people about diseases that can be caught in swimming pools, lakes, and other bodies of water.

WDH epidemiologist Katie Bryan says such diseases as cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis, and shigellosis are threats to infect swimmers in the state.

Bryan says many of the germs come from feces, and some of them are very tolerant of chlorine and may not be killed right away. Cryptosporidium, in particular, can survive for more than 10 days in chlorinated water.

The diseases also flourish in untreated water such as hot springs, lakes, rivers, and streams. Disease symptoms typically include diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and loss of appetite.

Bryan advises people to take the following steps to protect themselves:

  • Avoid swimming on days when you are experiencing diarrhea. Germs can spread into the water and make others sick.
  • Don't swallow swimming water and avoid getting water into your mouth.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on the body can end up in the water.
  • Parents of young children should remember to:
  • Wash children before swimming (especially their rear ends).
  • Check diapers every 30–60 minutes. Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not right by a pool or lake. Germs can spread in and around the places we swim.
  • Take children to the bathroom every 30–60 minutes. Waiting to hear “I have to go,” may mean it's too late.

For more information about healthy swimming, visit www.cdc.gov/healthyswimming