Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do for your health, but many people don’t think about it. Water is essential for staying healthy, and it should be something you always have on hand. Unfortunately, there are some critical health concerns related to drinking contaminated water, and these concerns can range from diarrhea to death. According to the WHO, contaminated water causes more than 450,000 deaths globally because of diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and diarrhea.
This article will discuss what severe health issues you may face on consuming contaminated water and how you can protect yourself from these risks.
Cancer is a disease of the body’s cells. It can spread throughout the entire body, causing additional tumors to form. Cancer is one of the major causes of death worldwide.
People have long recognized that certain substances in our environment can harm us. Many carcinogens are found naturally in our food and air. But what about water? One study found that more than half of all cancers worldwide are caused by consuming contaminated water. Drinking polluted water increases the risk of developing cancer.
Contaminated water is one of the primary sources of cancer. Several types of cancer are associated with contaminated water. Bladder cancer, esophageal cancer, larynx cancer, intestinal cancer, kidney and liver cancer, and skin cancer are a few common forms of cancer caused due to water contamination.
A prominent example of cancer due to water contamination is at Camp Lejeune. Here numerous cases of cancer came to notice when the residents and others continued consuming contaminated water. If you lived or visited Camp Lejeune between 1953 to 1987 and suffered from any disease associated with contaminated water, you are eligible for compensation. You can file a Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit to get compensation for your health condition.
E. Coli Infection
- coli is a bacterium that can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illness, and other infections. It usually comes from the intestines of people and animals.
- coli can be found in water, food, and soil. If you ingest contaminated water or eat food touched by contaminated water, it can cause E Coli infection in humans, leading to severe health problems like kidney failure, etc.
Lead poisoning is a condition that occurs when too much lead builds up in the body. It can cause many health problems, including kidney disease, high blood pressure, and brain damage.
Over time, lead poisoning can be caused by inhaling or ingesting small amounts of lead.
However, most cases occur from drinking water with high levels of lead. In addition to causing health issues, exposure to these chemicals also puts you at risk for cancer and other illnesses such as Parkinson’s.
Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection that can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and fever. It is caused by the protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium parvum. Cryptosporidiosis is spread through the fecal-oral route, primarily via contaminated drinking or recreational water.
The parasite can survive for several days in properly treated water and even longer in untreated water, making it difficult to disinfect.
Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by a parasite found in contaminated water. It’s transmitted through contact with a contaminated body of water and not transmitted from person to person. Instead, the parasite enters the body through the skin.
There are two types of schistosomiasis: urinary and intestinal. In both cases, the parasites live in blood vessels near your intestines or urinary tract. They reproduce there until they’re ready to travel back to their host, where they will lay more eggs that you’ll release into your feces or urine.
Arsenic poisoning is caused by consuming water with high levels of arsenic. Arsenic can be found in well water, groundwater, and surface water. People who drink water containing more than ten micrograms (mcg) per liter of arsenic may develop symptoms such as nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting. The severity of these symptoms depends on how much and how long you have consumed contaminated water.
Arsenic poisoning can also cause cancer and skin problems such as pigmentation changes on your nails or skin changes similar to psoriasis or vitiligo.
The main cause of Typhoid fever can be associated with the bacterium Salmonella typhi, which can be found in contaminated water and food. Symptoms usually include a headache, high fever, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. Antibiotics can treat typhoid fever once it’s been diagnosed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 5,700 people in the US are affected yearly by typhoid fever.
Typhoid usually spreads through contaminated water contaminated with fecal matter from an infected person. Therefore, it’s important to avoid drinks made with unboiled tap water while traveling in developing countries where typhoid may be present.
Hepatitis A is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver. It spreads through contaminated water, usually when someone ingests something that has been contaminated by the feces of an infected person.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated the death of more than 7,000 people worldwide from Hepatitis A in 2016.
After knowing what severe health damage water contamination may cause, it is necessary to recognize how to overcome this critical issue. Listed below are the precautions you can take to save yourself and your family from contaminated water.
Use Filtered Water
There are several ways to purify water. The easiest way is to use a water filter which will remove any contaminants from the water. There are many kinds of water filters, but some of the most effective ones include:
- Reverse osmosis filters
- Distillation filters
- Carbon block filters
Boil Your Drinking Water
You can also disinfect your drinking water using boiling. This method is very effective in killing harmful bacteria and parasites. Boiling water for at least 3 minutes will help eliminate any contamination.
- Use a thermometer to ensure the water is at a rolling boil.
- Never use an aluminum pot or container to boil the water, as this metal can react with the chlorine in tap water and give off toxic fumes.
- Don’t use plastic containers to boil your drinking water, as they may crack under high heat and release harmful chemicals into your drinking supply.
- Never microwave your purified or boiled water, as it will defeat its purpose.
Use Bottled Water for Drinking and Cooking
Use bottled water for drinking and cooking. Avoid tap water, well water, untreated water, and contaminated water. Also, avoid drinking or cooking with any kind of water with an odor or taste different from usual.
If your home uses a well for its drinking supply, ask your physician about regularly testing the well’s quality.
Purify Contaminated Water
There are several ways to purify contaminated water. One way is to use a water purification system that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses in the water. Another way is to use a water filter, which allows you to remove silt, rust, and dirt from your drinking water. In addition, iodine tablets can be used as an alternative method of disinfecting your drinking water.
Taking Precautions are Better Than Taking Medicines
Our bodies need clean, fresh, and pure drinking water for survival. Contaminated drinking water is a common source of illness worldwide and can have severe consequences on your health. Waterborne diseases are often caused by bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that enter the body through contaminated food or drink.
There is no doubt that clean drinking water is essential for our survival. It’s not only the most crucial factor in maintaining good health but also one of the key ingredients in keeping our bodies well hydrated and healthy. But unfortunately, the truth is that contaminated water can seriously affect your health and even kill you if you do not take precautions against it.