The quality of the water we drink is a big deal. It’s essential to good health, and it’s one of the things that can help keep our bodies running smoothly. But, unfortunately, water is also something that many of us take for granted. We turn on a faucet at home or work and expect clean drinking water, which does not happen.
According to The World Counts, around 3,575,000 people die yearly from waterborne diseases. Around 2.2 million of these people are kids. There are millions of cases of illness caused by contaminated drinking water every year in the United States alone.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans, who rely on a common water source for drinking, it’s important to know that contaminated water can lead to serious health issues.
About half of those illnesses are preventable with proper treatment systems and equipment. So, what does this mean for your health? Here in this article, some common health issues related to consuming contaminated water have been discussed. Also, you will find tips for keeping your body safe from these harmful pathogens so you can live (and drink) longer.
You may be surprised that the water you drink could be contaminated with carcinogenic or cancer-causing chemicals. It means that even your drinking water can cause cancer. The most common carcinogenic contaminants that might be present in your drinking water are:
- Chloroform – A disinfectant used to treat drinking water supplies
- Trihalomethanes – By-products of chlorine reacting with organic matter in the water supply
- Nitrates and nitrites – Naturally occurring minerals can cause methemoglobinemia in infants under six months old.
These chemicals have been linked to increased cancer risk in those who drink them regularly. Contaminated water can cause oesophageal cancer, bladder cancer, intestinal cancer, larynx cancer, liver cancer, kidney disorders, and skin cancer in many cases.
A very popular case that happened due to the consumption of contaminated water was at Camp Lejeune. Here, several cancer cases were noticed in the residents due to the regular drinking of contaminated water. These cases happened between 1953 to 1987 in Camp Lejeune.
If you were a victim of any such type of case, you, too, are eligible for claiming compensation. You just need to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit and work on the process to claim your medical expense or any other type of compensation.
Another bacterial infection that is caused by drinking contaminated water and by fecal-oral contamination is Gastroenteritis. When someone with a gastrointestinal illness touches something other people eat or drink, it spreads faster. Symptoms of Gastroenteritis are diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
Treatment for Gastroenteritis includes fluids to rehydrate the body and medicine to ease symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. The best way to avoid becoming ill from contaminated water is through proper hygiene practices such as washing hands frequently with soap or using hand sanitizer before eating or preparing food for others.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food or water. Symptoms include high fever, weakness, loss of appetite, and headache. It can be treated with antibiotics if caught early enough.
However, typhoid is a serious disease that can lead to complications such as inflammation of the gallbladder and brain abscesses. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you believe you may have contracted typhoid fever.
You may have heard of cryptosporidiosis, but what is it? Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a parasite that lives in contaminated water. The parasite can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and nausea, among other symptoms. However, people with healthy immune systems often get sick for a few days and then recover completely without any lasting health problems.
Those with weakened immune systems are more likely to experience complications from cryptosporidiosis, even death in severe cases. However, they usually recover after treatment.
Giardiasis is a disease caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia, which lives in the intestines and passes out of the body with feces. It can spread through contaminated water, most commonly transmitted via hand-to-mouth contact or by drinking contaminated water.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Giardiasis accounts for 6% of the total illnesses caused by contaminated water consumption in the US.
If you have been diagnosed with Giardiasis, you may have symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, gas, and loose stools. You may also experience nausea, fatigue, and weight loss if you’re infected for an extended period. You may also notice that your stool has little white pearls; these are parasites.
Treatment options include metronidazole or Tinidazole. Suppose these medications don’t work at first; try taking both together. It can be more effective than taking them individually.
Typhus and Leptospirosis
Typhus is a bacterial infection that causes fever, headache, and rash. The disease can be fatal if untreated but can be treated with antibiotics. Typhus is spread by lice or fleas and transmitted through contaminated water to people who are not immune to the disease. When typhus infects a person’s bloodstream, it can lead to meningitis or pneumonia.
Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by spirochete bacteria called leptospires. It lives in watery environments such as streams, ponds, and lakes. Leptospira bacteria enter humans through direct contact with infected animals or waste products, such as urine, mucous membranes, soil, etc.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that affects the liver. Symptoms include jaundice, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, and light-colored stools. The hepatitis A virus causes it.
Hepatitis A can spread when an infected person doesn’t wash their hands properly after using the bathroom or changing diapers. It can also spread when someone has poor personal hygiene. In addition, when a person doesn’t use clean drinking water or gets in close contact with someone sick, he will develop the disease easily. Therefore, a vaccine is recommended for Hepatitis A at an early age for its prevention.
Water Contamination can Lead to Serious Health Issues.
According to Our World in Data, 6% of people worldwide did not have access to clean drinking water till 2020. If you suspect that your water is contaminated, there are several steps you should take.
First, if the water has an unusual color or odor and tastes like metal, it may be contaminated with iron bacteria or manganese. It can happen after heavy rainfall causes flooding in nearby streams or rivers and brings these contaminants into the source of your well. If so, boil the water until bubbles form before using it as drinking water.
You should also check with local authorities whether they have conducted tests on other wells in your area after recent storms. If they haven’t done so yet but suspect contamination might be present due to their monitoring efforts.
Consider waiting until results come back before drinking any tap water until further notice has been given by officials concerning safety levels being within acceptable limits again.
Water contamination is a serious issue and can devastate the health of people across the globe. Waterborne disease outbreaks are becoming more common, and the number of people affected by them has increased over the last few years. As Sunridge Mall Eye Clinic points out, even just swimming in contaminated water can lead to serious health problems like conjunctivitis. You must now understand what it means by contaminated water and how important it is to protect yourself and your loved ones from these illnesses.