There is no doubt that after oxygen, water is most essential for our survival. Being 70% water ourselves, almost every function of our body requires it, and cells die without its sufficient presence.
In short, we need at least over 2 liters of water daily to stay alive, fit, and healthy.
However, the same water might become very much harmful due to all the contaminants it acquires before reaching us while flowing through water bodies and infrastructure. The total number of water-borne illnesses per year in the U.S. alone is estimated to be 12-19.5 Million, the cause of which majorly includes bacteria, followed by other organisms, such as parasites and viruses along with some other pathogens.
In this post, we will discuss some of these water contaminating organisms, which mainly comprise of 3 major categories. These include:
When we talk about water-borne diseases or even pandemics, bacteria own the top spot. There are multiple such organisms contaminating our drinking water at once, and some of them have caused millions of deaths until now.
Let’s break down the details of the major ones:
Salmonella alone causes around 16 million new cases of typhoid fever around the world, resulting in 600,000 deaths each year. While most stomach problems caused by it are food-borne, the so-called typhoid fever majorly is caused by drinking salmonella contaminated water.
Its symptoms include headache, diarrhea, lethargy, cough, and abdominal pain. Sometimes, it may even cause intestinal bleeding (after 2-3 weeks of the disease).
There is a common misconception that shigella causes diseases in developing countries; however, research indicates that it causes at least half a million cases per year in the United States.
It is one of the most dangerous bacteria out there, which causes bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, dehydration, high-grade fever, and fatigue.
E. coli is the cause of around one-fourth of all the epidemics that have occurred until now in the US.
Depending on the type of E. coli, the patient can have mild conditions like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, to lethal diseases such as bloody diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome.
It causes one of the common types of pneumonia, known as legionaries’ disease. Legionella mainly spread in sources of fresh water, such as lakes, streams, and even in water tanks.
It is also one of the most common causes of hospital-acquired and community-acquired pneumonia, affecting thousands of patients per year. It also causes Pontiac fever, characterized by fever, chills, muscle pain, chest pain, diarrhea, insomnia, and headache.
Giardia, which causes Giardiasis, is most commonly identified in stool specimens of affected patients and causes about 1.2 million annual illnesses.
Giardiasis includes foul-smelling watery diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, fever, etc.
Cryptosporidium, a chlorine-tolerant protozoan, has been linked with 16 drinking-water outbreaks between 1971 and 2013; a single epidemic in Milwaukee accounted for an estimated 403,000 cases.
The disease caused by it shows several symptoms, namely, severe watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and cramps.
Waterborne viruses include Adenovirus, Astrovirus, Rotavirus, and enteroviruses, including poliovirus. They cause diseases ranging from simple Gastrointestinal problems to serious life-threatening illnesses.
Rotavirus, for example, is the leading cause of severe acute diarrhea in children under the age of five globally, resulting in over half a million deaths annually.
Most of these viruses are commonly associated with gastroenteritis, characterized by diarrhea, cramping, vomiting, and fever.
However, some of these viruses also cause severe illnesses, including cancer (polyomavirus), and hepatitis.
Ways to Purify Your Water from Micro-organisms
Chlorine is a chemical disinfectant used to kill many water-contaminating organisms, usually on a large scale.
However, it has many disadvantages over other methods. It may be effective against many organisms, yet, many microbes such as giardia and other protozoan cysts are quite resistant to chlorine.
Furthermore, adding chlorine in drinking water might change the taste and other properties of water and may even cause chlorine toxicity if not careful.
Boiling is usually more of a household method to purify water. It is also effective against most of the microbes, but nowadays, its quite inconvenient to spend excessive time and energy on boiling water, especially, when you’ve better solutions. Not to mention, boiling water might further concentrate other physical contaminants, resulting in more harmful or hard water.
Water distillation, like boiling, uses heat to purify water. It kills microbes and evaporates the water, condenses it, and separates it from other contaminants, so you can have a pure and clear glass of drinking water.
You can check out reviews for some remarkable water distillers and decide which might be the one for you. There are many such devices available in the market that are easy to clean and more efficient than boiling by all means.
Top Water Distillers Reviewed by us:
This water purification system is effective against almost all microbes, requires one-time installation, is faster, and less energy-intensive than both boiling and water distillers, and can be fixed anywhere in your house with or without an added water filter.
In terms of efficiency, some of the best UV filters can clear up to 99% of the microbes.
Water filter systems like under sink water filters or whole house filter systems might be the best choice in comparison with all other methods. Most of these have anti-microbial mechanisms and require only one-time installation. They can not only kill up to 99% of the microbes present in water but almost all the other contaminants as well.
In conclusion, to save yourself from the microbes contaminating your water, it may be a better choice to install a water filter than going for other less efficient methods. It requires less time and energy, kills almost all the organisms, and saves you from spending tons of money in the long run.
You can further check out our reviews on the best water filters, ranging from simple UV filters to more cutting-edge whole house filter systems, and decide which one suits you the best!