Dozens of People Had Explosive Diarrhea After Filming an NBC Show

By Korin Miller

Having diarrhea is unpleasant under the best of circumstances. But having so-called “explosive diarrhea” is the stuff of nightmares. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to several crew members on NBC’s upcoming game show Ultimate Slip ‘N Slide, according to The Wrap. A source told the publication that “up to 40 crew members fell violently ill” with symptoms that included “awful explosive diarrhea.”

Some people were “collapsing” on set from the illness and were “forced to run into port-o-potties.”

Water on the set was reportedly tested by a third-party environmental lab in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and Ventura County Public Health. While water samples from a well, pond, slide pool, water truck, and bathroom sinks tested negative for giardia, additional testing results showed a tiny parasite, giardia, in the area surrounding the set.

The giardia parasite causes the diarrheal disease giardiasis, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Giardia can be found on surfaces or in soil, food, or water that has been contaminated with poop from infected people or animals, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Maryland, tells Health. Dr. Adalja says it isn’t shocking that a water-based activity was linked to a giardiasis outbreak. “These happen every summer,” he says.

What is explosive diarrhea?

Technically, explosive diarrhea isn’t a medical term, but it can be used to describe some pretty intense poop action. “When people say ‘explosive diarrhea,’ they usually mean there’s an urgency to it and a sort of violent expulsion,” Kyle Staller, MD, a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, tells Health.

It’s not necessarily the same thing as severe diarrhea, which doctors usually think of as having more than six loose, watery poops a day, along with symptoms of dehydration and abdominal pain, Dr. Staller says. But explosive diarrhea can lead to severe diarrhea, he adds..

As for whether you should use an OTC anti-diarrheal medication like Imodium, Dr. Staller says that it may actually work against you in the long run. “The worry is that you may keep the infection inside,” he says. If you’re having “average diarrhea,” a medication like Imodium is fine, he suggests. But if you’re having more severe symptoms like a fever and bloody poop, you actually won’t want to take one of these medications, he says.


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