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Prevention & Control - General Public

The following recommendations are intended to help prevent and control cryptosporidiosis in members of the general public. For recommendations for immunocompromised persons, please see Prevention & Control - Immunocompromised Persons .

Practice Good Hygiene

  • Wet hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Lather all surfaces of hands and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with clean, running water and dry with a clean towel or air
    • before preparing or eating food,
    • after using the toilet,
    • after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet,
    • before and after caring for someone who is ill with diarrhea,
    • after handling an animal, particularly young livestock, or its stool,
    • after gardening, even if wearing gloves.

Note: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not effectively kill Cryptosporidium. Information about hand hygiene is available from CDC’s Handwashing website.

At child care facilities
  • Exclude children who are ill with diarrhea from child care settings until the diarrhea has stopped.

Information about preventing cryptosporidiosis and controlling cryptosporidiosis outbreaks at childcare facilities is available from CDC on the Childcare Facilities page.

At the pool
  • Protect others by not swimming if ill with diarrhea.
    • If cryptosporidiosis is diagnosed, do not swim for at least 2 weeks after diarrhea stops.
  • Do not swallow the water.
  • Take young children on bathroom breaks every 60 minutes or check their diapers every 30—60 minutes.

Information about healthy swimming is available from CDC on the Healthy Swimming website.

Avoid Water That Might Be Contaminated

  • Do not drink untreated water from lakes, rivers, springs, ponds, streams, or shallow wells.
  • Follow advice given during local drinking water advisories.
  • If the safety of drinking water is in doubt (e.g., during an outbreak, or if water treatment is unknown) use at least one of the following:
    • Commercially bottled water,
    • Water that has been previously boiled for 1 minute and left to cool. At elevations above 6,500 feet (1,981 meters), boil for 3 minutes. 
    • Use a filter designed to remove Cryptosporidium.
      • The label might read 'NSF 53' or 'NSF 58'.
      • Filter labels that read “absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller” are also effective.
  • If the safety of drinking water is in doubt, (e.g., during an outbreak or if water treatment is unknown), use bottled, boiled, or filtered water to wash fruits and vegetables that will be eaten raw.

Information about commercially-bottled water and other beverages is available from CDC at A Guide to Commercially-Bottled Water and Other Beverages.

Information about water filters is available from CDC at A Guide to Water Filters.

Practice Extra Caution While Traveling

  • Do not use or drink inadequately treated water or use ice when traveling in countries where the water might be unsafe.
  • Avoid eating uncooked foods when traveling in countries where the food supply might be unsafe.

Information about how to prevent illnesses while traveling is available from CDC on the Traveler’s Health website.

Prevent Contact and Contamination With Feces During Sex

  • Use barriers (e.g., condoms, natural rubber latex sheets, dental dams, or cut-open non-lubricated condoms) between the mouth and a partner’s genitals or rectum.
  • Wash hands immediately after handling a condom or other barrier used during anal sex and after touching the anus or rectal area.

Information about cryptosporidiosis prevention in persons with weakened immune systems is available on the General Info for Immunocompromised Persons page.