Water is an essential ingredient for life. It’s also a powerful weapon against disease. However, when it comes to drinking water, our instinctive thirst for hydration can be a dangerous trait.
It may sound strange, but many people still drink water from sources that are contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These organisms can cause several types of illnesses, including typhoid fever and cholera, some of which can be fatal if left untreated.
To help you realize the dangers, here’s a list of the most common health risks associated with the use of contaminated water.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease that can be caused by the bacterium Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. It’s transmitted through contaminated water and food, but it can also be spread person-to-person.
The most common symptoms include high fever, headache, weakness, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. Typhoid can also cause complications like brain infections or intestinal infections (typhoid fever).
Typhoid is considered one of the most serious diseases in the world because it’s hard to treat and can be fatal if not treated properly with antibiotics. Every year, 200,000 people die globally because of typhoid.
Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. Cholera is spread through contaminated water, food, and other sources of fecal waste. A person infected with cholera often has no symptoms or only mild symptoms that last two to seven days.
People who develop severe diarrhea and vomiting may be at risk for dehydration and shock, which can be fatal if not treated quickly with intravenous fluids or antibiotics.
Cholera outbreaks are most common in areas where there are large numbers of people living in unsanitary conditions without access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation. Outbreaks usually occur during periods when the weather is hot and humid.
A scarcity of pure drinking water leads to cholera outbreaks in many underdeveloped countries, like parts of Africa, where almost 40 million people live in cholera-endemic areas.
Ingesting contaminated water can lead to amebiasis, which is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Entamoeba histolytica. The parasite passes through the human digestive system and enters the bloodstream, where it reproduces and spreads in the liver.
Amebiasis is most commonly spread through contaminated food or water, but it can also be transmitted sexually.
Amebiasis is most common in tropical areas where sanitation is poor and hygiene standards low. However, people living in temperate climates may also be at risk of contracting this illness if they do not take proper precautions, especially when it comes to using clean water.
Dysentery is an infection of the intestines that can be caused due to the ingestion of contaminated water. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. With dysentery, you may also have blood in your stool or vomit.
If you suspect that you have dysentery, contact a doctor immediately and avoid working with food or water until after treatment has begun.
Dysentery can be prevented by washing your hands thoroughly and using clean drinking water whenever possible.
Irritation of Eyes, Nose, and Skin
Irritation of the eyes, nose, and skin is a major health risk associated with drinking contaminated water. This is due to the effect that many contaminants have on the body’s immune system.
A weakened immune system can lead to increased susceptibility to infections. In some cases, it may also cause specific symptoms to develop that are not related directly to water contamination but still make people feel ill or uncomfortable.
It’s a sad fact that many people around the world are exposed to carcinogens in their drinking water, which can lead to cancer. Water-borne carcinogens include arsenic, uranium, and radium, to name a few. Cancer is a very serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide every year.
The Camp Lejeune incident, where millions of people were exposed to contaminated water, is a witness to the fact that contaminated water can lead to cancer. Several residents in the Camp Lejeune area went on to develop cancer later in their lives because of the contaminated water.
The Camp Lejeune Water Lawsuit was later filed to ensure that victims get the justice and compensation they deserve for this incident.
Cryptosporidiosis and Giardiasis
Cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are two types of water-borne illnesses that can make your life miserable. These diseases are caused by parasites, which can be found in the water supply if it hasn’t been treated properly.
The symptoms of both diseases include stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Both parasites can also cause weight loss and fatigue. Infants may experience failure to thrive due to the malabsorption of nutrients from their diet. Adults may experience inflammation in the lining of the esophagus or colon.
As you can see, contaminated drinking water poses a serious threat to health. If you want to avoid these risks and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, it’s crucial to use clean water and ensure that your local water sources are free from pollution.