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HIV & AIDS Health Center

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You Can Prevent Cryptosporidiosis

How Can I Protect Myself from Crypto? continued...

4 . Avoid touching the stool of pets. Most pets are safe to own. However,someone who is not HIV infected should clean their litter boxes or cages, and dispose of the waste. If you must clean up after a pet, use disposable gloves. Wash your hands afterwards. The risk of getting crypto is greatest from pets that are less than 6 months old, animals that have diarrhea, and stray animals. Older animals can also have crypto, but they are less likely to have it than younger animals. If you get a puppy or kitten that is less than 6 months old, have the animal tested for crypto before bringing it home. If any pet gets diarrhea have it tested for crypto.

5 . Be careful when swimming in lakes, rivers, or pools, and when using hot tubs. When swimming in lakes, rivers, or pools, and when using hot tubs, avoid swallowing water. Several outbreaks of crypto have been traced to swallowing contaminated water while swimming. Crypto is not killed by the amount of chlorine normally used in swimming pools and water parks. Crypto also can remain alive in fresh and salt water for several days, so swimming in polluted lake or ocean water may also be unsafe.

6. Wash and/or cook your food. Fresh vegetables and fruits may be contaminated with crypto. Therefore, wash well all vegetables or fruit you will eat uncooked. If you take extra steps to make your water safe (see below for ways to do so), use this safe water to wash your fruits and vegetables. When you can, peel fruit that you will eat raw, after washing it. Do not eat or drink unpasteurized milk or dairy products. Cooking kills crypto. Therefore, cooked food and processed or packaged foods are probably safe if, after cooking or processing, they are not handled by someone infected with crypto.

7. Drink safe water. Do not drink water directly from lakes, rivers, streams, or springs. Because you cannot be sure if your tap water contains crypto, you may wish to avoid drinking tap water, including water and ice from a refrigerator ice-maker, which are made with tap water. Because public water quality and treatment vary throughout the United States, always check with the local health department and water utility to see if they have issued any special notices about the use of tap water by HIV infected persons. You may also wish to take some additional measures: boiling your water, filtering your water with certain home filters, or drinking certain types of bottled water. Processed carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles are probably safe, but drinks made at a fountain might not be because they are made with tap water. If you choose to take these extra measures, use them all the time, not just at home. If the public health department advises boiling the water, do not drink tap water unless you boil it. You could also use one of the bottled waters described below.

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