We all can’t live without water. It is the most critical resource on the earth, yet 2.2 million people die from diseases they catch from it every year. The waterborne disease still kills so much in many countries. Some people do not have access to clean drinking water because they have to get water from natural sources like a lake or a pond, unlike you where you get it two pipes. These people do not have very good ways to treat this dirty water. Here are some Common problems with using untreated water.
Cholera is a deadly type of waterborne disease that is caused by the Vibrio cholera bacterium. 28,000 to 142 thousand people are killed by cholera every year. It can kill in a matter of hours and be caught by anyone. Cholera triggers diarrhea which heavily dehydrates the body, often to the point of death. Despite this, only 20% of people who catch cholera will actually develop symptoms. Of that 20%, 80% will experience very mild non-life-threatening symptoms. It can also be easily treated with all rehydration salts, which are successful 80% of the time. However, due to lack of medical treatment in affected areas, many people still die from this disease.
The salmonella typhi bacteria is the main cause of typhoid fever. 5,700 Americans catch this disease each year. Seventy-five percent of cases are acquired through international travel as it is most common in non industrialized countries. When traveling abroad, you should always be vaccinated with typhoid and avoid eating any risky foods or drinks as well.
Although it may be surprising, avoiding risky foods is just as important as getting vaccinated because the vaccinations not always work. Always boil water before you drink it or buy it bottled. Symptoms of typhoid include; high fever, weakness stomach pains, headache, loss of appetite and sometimes a rash or flat red spots.
Guinea worm is a deadly parasite that is slowly being eradicated due to better access to clean water and remote African villages. The parasite is transmitted by drinking unfiltered water which contains fleas that carry the guinea worm larvae. Once inside the body, the larvae grow into full adult worms for the next year or so. They usually grow to about 60 to 100 centimeters long.
When it is ready to come out, the worm creates a painful blister which burst in the next three days putting the wound. Water usually helps relieve the burning pain, but in remote African villages, it also contaminates water that more people will drink. Putting in water also makes the worm come out and release a white liquid that releases millions of young larvae. The ground worm usually moves very little each day and takes weeks to come out, leaving villagers unable to do work during this period. You also cannot build immunity to guinea worm.
Arsenicosis is as the result of drinking water contaminated with high levels arsenic. Over the years arsenicosis can cause many diseases and cancers of the skin, lungs, kidney, liver, bladder and other areas. Although bathing in arsenic-rich water does not pose much of a threat, drinking it could cause many health problems. It has been shown to cause blood vessel diseases. Arsenic in water is hard to track in the report because symptoms do not appear for five to twenty years and by then, a whole country may have consumed this water. This is a problem that is not far from home.
You are pretty safe from waterborne disease as long as you don’t drink untreated water. Untreated water includes water that comes from a river or a lake. If you choose to drink water from a source like a river or a lake, make sure you boil it and filter it properly and you should be safe from waterborne disease.