How public pools protect against parasites

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 25, 2016

Pool safety is a big concern for many parents. 

Pinellas County pools are testing the water at their pools four to five times a day, making sure chlorine and pH levels are on point and keeping parasites you don’t want infecting your family far away.

“I don’t want to go swimming in a pool that doesn’t look clean. I want to make sure that there’s not a lot of bacteria in the water,” Deborah Davis said.

Deborah Davis and her grandkids visited Fossil Park pool for the first time, but she did her homework first.  

"We looked it up online so that we could find out a little bit about the pool and what they do to take care of it,” Davis said.

“We test for the pH levels in the pool, and then we also test the chlorine levels, which is what kills parasites or any type of bacteria in the water,” Anita Westmoreland, aquatic supervisor with the City of St. Petersburg, said. 

Back in 2014, Pinellas County had a cryptosporidium outbreak, with 240 cases of the parasite that causes intestinal problems, like diarrhea. Parks and Recreation shut down all their public pools for 24 hours and hyper-shocked them. 

So far this year, there have been 11 cases of crypto in Pinellas County and 44 cases in Hillsborough County. Health departments check pools twice a summer, randomly. 

“You can call your health department, your local health department, and find out if they’ve been written up or had any violations recently and then you can also ask to make sure that they do a pool reading,” Westmoreland said.

You should also be able to check the tests your pool is doing and keep any signs of crypto on your radar.  

“We watch for it if there’s any symptoms there’s something we need to keep in mind  whether it's a virus or any kind of bug that floated in the water,” April Lasley said. 

The Department of Health recommends showering when you get in and out of the pool and making sure your kids are wearing swim diapers in the water.