We utilize water every day to keep ourselves clean and healthy. What you might not understand is that it also can cause us to be very sick if we’re not mindful. That’s because in some places around the world, there may be some hard to see and extremely dangerous intruders hiding in the water supply. These tiny beings are called bacteria, viruses, and parasites. As a collection, they’re recognized as “pathogens,” and what they all have in common is that they love to make us feel ill.
Where Do They Come From?
Usually, the villains from cartoons and comic books come from outer space or other dimensions. However, many of the evildoers hiding in dirty water come from the earth, specifically poop. Yes, poop.
How does poop get into our water? Rain can wash feces from farms, wild animals and sewer systems into rivers and streams that then run into the bigger lakes and reservoirs that provide us with what we drink. This is why the water that comes to our homes has to be treated and filtered before we can use it safely.
Other types of pathogens, such as Legionella bacteria, can grow and thrive in pipes that aren’t kept clean. Additionally, sometimes eating foods that haven’t been prepared correctly might be the origin of our illness.
How Can You Get Better?
If one of these diseases affects you, don’t worry — often, all you need is some sleep. Most of the time these ailments are mild, and your body’s immune system can fight them all by itself.
Other circumstances, however, you might need a little aid from a doctor. He or she can give you antibiotics, which are powerful prescriptions that eliminate certain bacteria. In the event of viruses, you may be able to get a vaccine. A vaccination is an injection that tells your body how to beat the virus and can prevent you from getting sick in the first place.
When water is kept clean, it does a lot of great things for us. This is why it’s so important to use it only when we know it’s safe. To learn more about seven of the most common tiny bad guys that can be hiding in our water, check out the infographic you see here.