These days, we see several major product recalls a year due to contaminated food. The same microorganisms that live on food can also lurk in our water supply. Luckily, most governments have strict standards to keep their water supplies clean. In spite of their best efforts, thousands of people still get sick every year from drinking contaminated water.
Waterborne illnesses pose the most risk to infants, children, and the elderly. They can suffer from extreme dehydration, which can lead to death. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interest to monitor their drinking water—including the water from their kitchen faucets. In the United States, water contamination is rare but not impossible. These are the five most dangerous microorganisms that can contaminate drinking water.
1. Escherichia Coli
Also known as E. coli, this bacteria can cause an upset stomach, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea in the host. People can contract E. coli by ingesting contaminated food or beverages. E. coli is most harmful to small children, the elderly, and anyone else who is susceptible to dehydration.
2. Legionella Pneumophila
Legionella pneumophila is a pathogenic bacterium and the primary cause of Legionnaire’s disease, which affects the respiratory system in a manner similar to pneumonia. Symptoms include fluid in the lungs, persistent cough, chills, muscular aches, and fatigue. Legionella pneumophila thrives in freshwater and is contracted through inhalation or aspiration of the contaminated water.
Salmonella infection occurs when people consume contaminated food or water. Once ingested, the bacteria infect the intestinal tract and causes fever, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. While most cases aren’t deadly, salmonella can result in severe dehydration. It can also be very serious if it spreads beyond the intestinal tract and into the bloodstream.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that can cause a severe cough, watery diarrhea, or both in humans. According to the CDC, it’s the leading cause of waterborne illnesses in the United States. International travelers are especially susceptible to exposure, but Cryptosporidium is still found in all regions of the U.S.
5. Giardia Lamblia
Giardia lamblia is a parasitic microorganism. Drinking contaminated water is the most common way this parasite infects human populations. Giardia causes loose, fatty stools, severe stomach pain, and fatigue.
Prevention and Safety
Practicing good hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid getting infected by harmful bacteria. The food we consume should be fully-cooked, and our beverages should be pasteurized to kill any microorganisms. We should also make sure our drinking water comes from safe sources.
City water supplies are treated to be safe for drinking, but contaminants can still enter our homes from plumbing lines. Giardia and Cryptosporidium are particularly resilient due to their chlorine-resistance. For the most part, tap water is perfectly safe to drink, but a water filter can add an extra layer of protection.
How Jason’s Water Softeners Can Help
Not all water filters are alike. Ideally, everyone should test their at-home drinking water for contaminants. Then, they should find a water filtration system that targets those contaminants along with performing other benefits, like improving the taste. If you’re ready to improve your drinking water, contact our friendly staff at Jason’s Water. Our expertise can help protect you and your family and provide great-tasting water to boot.