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Purify Water

Water 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.

Water 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.

Although 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.

Water Purification Methods

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
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
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.

When 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 method.

About the Author
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 .



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