Whether you’re an avid backpacker or an occasional visitor to picturesque lakes, rivers or streams, it’s important not to drink untreated water or even accidentally swallow it. Recreational waters may be contaminated with E.coli or harmful microscopic parasites like Giardia.
Symptoms of E. Coli
The E. Coli bacteria is found in lake, river and stream waters that have been contaminated with human or animal feces. Symptoms of E. Coli generally include severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It may also include fever and vomiting. Sometimes, those infected with E. Coli experience no symptoms but can still pass the infection to others. E. Coli O157 infections can lead to neurological damage, kidney failure and even death. Symptoms generally last from five to 10 days. Those with mild symptoms typically recover on their own. At the same time, it’s important to note that antibiotics are not helpful for treating E. Coli O157.
Symptoms of Giardiasis
Giardiasis is the diarrheal disease caused by the parasite Giardia. This parasite lives in the intestines of people and animals like cattle, deer, dogs and beavers. Giardia can be found in lakes, rivers and streams throughout the United States. If a human or animal poops in the water, people swimming in those waters are at risk for giardiasis. A giardia infection can cause a wide range of intestinal symptoms, including gas, diarrhea, stomach cramps, greasy stool, nausea and dehydration. Symptoms of giardiasis usually start from one to three weeks after being infected and may last anywhere from two to six weeks. Who’s at risk? Basically, anyone can get giardiasis, but backpackers, campers, hikers and international travelers are at high risk if they drink unsafe water from lakes, streams and rivers. Fortunately, there are prescription medications for the treatment of giardiasis.
Other Recreational Water Illnesses that Cause Diarrhea
Other recreational water illnesses (RWIs) that cause diarrhea include waters that are infected with germs from norovirus, Shigella and cryptosporidium. Although RWIs cause a wide variety of symptoms, diarrhea is the most common. Lakes, streams and rivers may be contaminated with these contaminants due to water runoff, sewage spills and animal waste. Even someone sick with diarrhea can infect the waters with just a speck of stool.
How to Avoid Waterborne Illnesses like Diarrhea from Lakes, Streams and Rivers
The best ways to avoid diarrhea from contaminants in lakes, streams and rivers is to not swallow the water and take a reusuable portable water filter bottle like Fit Bottle along with you for your recreational water excursion. Fit Bottle is a revolutionary product to purify water. Instead of the typical adhesives used in other purification water bottle, Fit Bottle has zero adhesives holding the filters in place. The Fit Bottle blocks up to 99 percent of bacteria, viruses and harmful chemicals. It also filters chlorine. Not only do users get fresh tasting water, they get protection from dangerous organisms. Fit Bottle’s filter has undergone vigorous testing and is nationally certified by labs. It’s a product that takes your health seriously.