drinking water and weak immune systems

Contaminated water could be harmful to anyone, even more so for those with weakened immune systems.
In fact, some organisms that could show up in water may be harmless to most, but deadly to others. A
weakened immune system can be a result of having an organ transplant, having HIV or AIDS or from
undergoing chemotherapy. Even with patients with less common congenital or acquired immune system
dysfunction. A weaker immune system means a higher likelihood of contracting disease from waterborne
Cryptosporidiosis, a diarrhea
disease known better as
"crypto", is one ailment caused
by a microscopic parasite that
can have a greater effect on a
weakened immune system. In
fact, over the past 20 years, it
has become one of the more
common waterborne illnesses.
Cryptosporidium parvum lives
in intestines of humans and
animals and is passed in their
stool. This disease is
communicable and can be
passed by water, sex, sharing
food and even touching farm
animals. The parasite is
protected by an outer shell, which allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and-here's the kicker-- makes it very resistant to chlorine disinfection. The parasite is found in every region of
the United States and throughout the world in drinking and recreational water. The illness can last a few
days to a week in a normal person, but for someone with AIDS, it can be fatal. Ironically, with something
you catch from water, water is a huge cure for this. With diarrhea, people become very dehydrated.
Drinking clean, pure water is a way to get back to health. However, once inflicted, the disease can recur.
Only point of use filters that remove particles one micrometer or less in diameter can be used to remove
cryptosporidium. The best prevention is to practice safe water practices. Most important, this means clean
drinking water. The Center for Disease Control states on their website that all reverse osmosis filters
protect the best against crypto. Some other filters may work, but they must say "absolute 1 micron" to be
sure. Private water supplies such as well water systems are not regulated by the USEPA and are generally
not treated or monitored. In these situations well water should always be tested regularly to maintain safe
water source.
Symptoms of previously healthy patients with cryptosporidiosis:
Watery, non-bloody diarrhea (can last anywhere from 7 to 20 days)
Abdominal cramping
Loss of appetite
Another disease to be aware of is toxoplasmosis-- a disease from a single-celled parasite toxoplasma
gondii. It is noted that there are over 60-million people who are infected with this disease-causing
parasite, however most immune systems fight off an illness before symptoms arise, the parasite
lying dormant. But for those with weaker immune systems, it's not that easy.
According to the Center for Disease Control, those with weak immune systems should ask their doctors
about getting a blood test for toxoplasma. If results are positive, doctors can inform the patient if and
when medicine should be taken to prevent the infection from reactivating. A negative test means the
person was never infected. But- precautions need to be take to avoid infection. Warning signs of
toxoplasmosis include flu-like symptoms and achy muscles. In a healthy person, the "bug" will work its
way out. In rarer cases, brain, nerve and eye damage can result. If this disease rings a bell, you may
recall it as something pregnant women are cautioned about as well-- the parasite is also found in cat feces
and those carrying babies are urged not to changed the litter.
It is important for the health care provider to consider a patient’s individual susceptibilities and the
relative risks from microbial pathogens and chemicals. Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) suggest
that “…decisions should be based on knowledge of likely contaminants in a specific source of water, an
understanding of the risks and benefits of the various alternatives to tap water, and understanding of the
individual’s susceptibility.”
These are just two major diseases that can affect someone with a weak immune system. Don’t let your
body be your only filter against the contaminants in your water. Having a water filtration system at home
can protect you from consuming any harmful substances found in water. Filtration systems work to
remove heavy metals, bacteria, chlorine and many other chemicals. These types of contaminants are
often found in water and are harmful to our health, even more so to those with weak immune systems.
Protecting your water source could be the only way to be 100% crypto free! Don’t let your body be your
only filter against the contaminants in your water. Maintaining our health will give us the strength to live
positive and meaningful lives and more importantly to be able to help many others around us.