Preventing waterborne bacterial infections found in drinking water and beach safety tips

Preventing waterborne bacterial infections found in drinking water and beach safety tips

Water is arguably the most precious natural resource and there is hardly any living organism that can survive without water. As sustaining as water could be, consumption of contaminated water could also have devastating health effects. Populations have been wiped out in the past due to water-borne bacterial infections and the danger is yet to be fully nullified. All over the world, waterborne bacterial infections account for 2-3 billion cases of diarrhea yearly. About 1-2 million deaths result from these cases and an overwhelming number of the deaths are entirely preventable. The deaths usually occur in infants, young children, and others with weakened immune systems. Rural areas in the United States with poor water treatment systems are at great risk.

Beach related illnesses

As mentioned earlier, people will less developed or compromised immune systems are at greater risk of coming down with beach related illnesses. When such people come into contact with contaminated beach water while swimming, they could come down with illnesses such as gastroenteritis and ear, nose, and throat infections. The good news here is that most swimming-related illnesses are easily treatable as long as the patient has access to proper medical care.

The implicated bacteria

The most common cause of water contamination is the bacteria Escherichia coli. This organism is part of the normal gut flora in humans. However, some E. coli strains are pathogenic and they are among the leading cause of bacterial water contamination. Other bacteria that are known to cause diarrhea include campylobacter, shigella, salmonella etc.

Protecting yourself from beach related illnesses

Below are some tips to protect yourself from beach related illnesses

  • You would at lesser risk if you swim without dipping your head underwater
  • Look out for safety signs and do not visit beaches that are closed by the environmental monitoring agencies
  • Avoid beaches where you see a drainage pipe
  • Avoid popular beaches after a heavy rainfall

Drinking water contamination

Surface water is easily contaminated and if the water is not properly treated, it could pose a threat to the health of the people who ingest it. Deficient sewage disposal systems appear to be the major source of contamination for beach water. Untreated or runoff sewage could pose significant threat to human lives and the risk is even higher in with water bodies that are close to farmlands. Drinking water needs purification since pollution makes it unfit for consumption. The current water treatment methods employed by municipal water distribution systems are largely inadequate. The systems are not fully equipped to take care of the different drinking water contaminants. The centralized water treatment methods, on the other hand, could prove expensive and it takes years to fully purify the water.

Personal water treatment

The only way to guarantee safe, drinking water for yourself and your family through personal water treatment methods. Many people already use chlorination as this helps kill waterborne bacteria. Companies are also coming up with innovative personal water treatment techniques to ensure everyone has access to potable drinking water. Some of these innovative techniques include:

  • Point-of-use disinfection
  • Water storage vessels e.g. high-quality reverse osmosis tanks
  • Electrolytic generators, etc.

Many of these techniques are now available to people living in rural areas in America as well as people from developing countries.

Other sources of water contamination

Asides bacterial contaminants, viruses and other parasites are also known to contaminate water bodies. Viruses and protozoa frequently contaminate beaches and it is not uncommon to have beaches closed down due to these contaminants.

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