is essential every day for survival. Being able to clean water
is just as important, for many diseases, parasites and chemicals
can easily be transmitted through water. Water can become
contaminated for many reasons. Whether it is a public pool,
direct contact with an infected person or from drinking contaminated
water, these diseases pose a threat to health and safety.
Water safety can effect a person on a large or small scale.
If there is a large disaster and it is far reaching, having
methods to purify water will be essential to health. Outside
help cannot always get to everyone fast enough in some cases.
Therefore, it is essential to be prepared to care for yourself,
family and possibly others in close proximity.
borne illnesses effect many people world wide. Parasites,
bacteria, viruses and other organisms are all potential threats.
Some of the most common are Giardia, cholera, hepatitis and
dysentery. Giardia is a parasite that lives in human and animal
intestines and is spread through feces. It can be spread to
others through direct contact of contaminated feces, or through
drinking water contaminated or touching something that came
in contact with a person or animal that was carrying Giardia
and then passed into the mouth. Anything can be a source if
it has been touched by someone or something that is infected;
bathroom fixtures, pool water, food, utensils, etc. Cholera
is a bacteria and hepatitis is a virus. Dysentery is caused
by tiny organisms and is spread through contaminated food
and water. The result of these illness is most commonly diarrhea.
many problems eventually will clear up on their own, one major
concern when a person is infected or carries the organism
is long term diarrhea. Diarrhea can lead to dehydration and
dehydration is potentially deadly. If there is no clean water
to drink, and a person is already sick, life threatening problems
exist. One possible scenario that could cause problems is
if a cities sewer pipes break during an earthquake. If the
problem is large spread, individuals who can assist collecting
clean and safe water will be vital for health.
Boiling is the most comprehensive method for killing everything
contaminating water. Water should come to a full boil to be
effective. Although some sources state to boil water for 10
minutes, others will claim less time is needed, even as little
as three minutes. Boiling is so effective because heat kills
the organism, however, it is not always convenient because
of the time to takes. Also, when you are done the water is
hot, has an after taste and less desirable to drink.
Iodine tablets or drops are a convenient option. They are
light weight and take up very little space. To use follow
directions on bottle, placing tablet in water, and let it
set for 10 minutes before consuming the water. It should not
be used for long periods of time, but a few months is fine.
A pregnant woman or a person with a thyroid condition should
not use iodine tablets as a means to purify their water. Another
benefit is that although it does have an after taste, it is
not as significant as boiled water and people often find it
more tolerable. Beware that if tablets get wet, they will
dissolve, so keep them in a safe, dry place until use.
Chlorine is detectable by smell and taste, however, it is
effective for killing bacteria and viruses. It does not kill
parasites though and may be necessary to combine with another
purification method. For use add 16 drops of liquid chlorine
bleach per gallon of water, or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle
of water and let stand 30 minutes. The chlorine needs to be
free of perfumes and dyes.
Portable purifiers produce the best tasting water as several
have charcoal filtration in place for that purpose. They are
light weight, easy to transport, and range in size and cost.
The varying types allow for most needs to me met. The biggest
problem to purifiers is that they do not remove viruses.
deciding which method(s) to use try them at home before actual
use. Find out what you prefer and them method that you are
comfortable using. If you have a strong preference it is best
to discover that before an emergency or necessary implementation
of purifying systems. Also note that you can combine methods,
and use more than one. For example, first use a water filtration
and then a small amount of iodine to kill what filtration
alone cannot. This especially helps with taste and using less
supplies to make them last for a longer period of time. A
water purifier is the best way to quickly and easily produce
clean water and especially works well when combined with another
Francesca Black is a prolific writer and has generated a number
of educational articles about emergencies. Additional articles
can be found at Prepare for Emergency http://www.prepare-for-emergency.com