5 Ways to Prevent Waterborne Illnesses

By Lee Bellinger / December 26, 2013

3 Days From Disaster

A clean, reliable source of water is the backbone of your family’s preparedness program. And not just one, but redundant sources, as water becomes more valuable than gold when the demand greatly exceeds supply and desperate people seek out an irreplaceable resource.

Today we’ll give you five different ways to assure that you have clean, pure water to drDirty Waterink no matter what. Think of this as your Swiss army knife of water purification – a handy collection of tools you can fall back on depending on the individual situation.

Moreover, these techniques help protect you from what is already one of the world’s leading causes of death even in “normal” times – contaminated drinking water.

During a disaster, water can quickly become contaminated. Breaks in pipes, sewage overflow, and shutdowns at water treatment facilities mean that even if you have access to tap water, it may not be suitable to drink. Waterborne illnesses are a serious threat. Drinking contaminated water can lead to cholera or dysentery. Even simple skin contact with contaminated water may cause skin conditions to develop or lead to respiratory or gastrointestinal infections. Water storage is important, but when it runs out (or if it is stolen, damaged, or sabotaged), you need a way to make sure the water you have access to is safe to drink.

Five Ways to Make Almost Any Water Safe

A number of water treatment methods are possible, each with advantages and disadvantages. Before using any of these methods, remove any sediment from the water by pouring it through a cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, use a coffee filter or a paper towel. If you suspect toxic chemicals in the water, find a different source.

Boiling The boiling method is straightforward to use and doesn’t greatly affect the way your water tastes. It’s very effective when done properly. To treat water using the boiling method, put the water you intend to treat in a pan. Bring it to a rapid boil. Hold the water at a boil for a full minute. Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. It’s safe and ready to use. Use the boiling method for any water you plan on cooking with: just allow it to boil for one full minute before adding food. This helps conserve your resources, because the downside of this first “tool” in your Swiss army knife is that it requires a lot of fuel. If you don’t have a ready supply of fuel, this method can become difficult to execute. That’s why you need these additional tools…

Colloidal Silver Even though this is an ancient, easy, and proven technique, most people don’t know about it. Suspended silver molecules bind to germs and kill the proteins they need to survive, making colloidal silver a very effective antibacterial agent. You can use a small amount of colloidal silver to purify water and make it safe for drinking. In one study, researchers confirmed the effectiveness of colloidal silver in fighting against a variety of microbes. They found that at even a very low concentration, silver is effective at inhibiting the growth of every microbe they tested it on. Treating drinking water with colloidal silver is a simple process. With a colloidal silver generator and two cups of distilled water, you can make a 10ppm colloidal silver solution, which you can then use to purify gallons of water that will be safe for your family to drink.

Important: Always prepare any colloidal silver solution using distilled water. Impurities in non-distilled water can alter the potency of your solution. Always follow the instructions on your colloidal silver generator to make your silver solution. Once you’ve made a silver solution, add one ounce to a gallon of water and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before using it for drinking or cleaning dishes.

Chlorine Bleach Standard chlorine bleach provides another option for treating water so that it is safe for drinking. Bleach may not kill all waterborne bacteria and it can add a funny taste to your water. The advantage is that it only takes a little bleach to treat a gallon of water and bleach cheap to buy and easy to store. Use a bleach product that contains between 5 and 6 percent sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient.

Do not use bleaches that have additional active ingredients. Add an eighth of a teaspoon of bleach to one gallon of water and allow it to stand for 30 minutes. The water should smell faintly of chlorine. If it does not, repeat the treatment cycle. If it still doesn’t have that chlorine smell, toss the water and find a different source.

Iodine Tablets Iodine tablets are the next item in your toolkit of options to chemically treat water. Of all the options, iodine has the biggest impact on taste. You can use a 2 percent iodine tincture or iodine tablets. For the tincture, add 5 drops per quart of water (10 if the water is cloudy). Allow the water to stand for 30 minutes before drinking. If you use iodine tablets, follow the package instructions. A slight iodine taste is nothing compared with the potentially deadly consequences of drinking contaminated water, so don’t turn your nose up at this option.

UV Treatment UV treatment is safe, effective, and doesn’t affect the taste of the water when you’re done. You can also treat a liter of water in about 90 seconds, so it eliminates the wait time. You can purchase small UV water treatment systems online through Amazon.com or other major retailers. Whole house systems are available if you want to treat well water or other water sources.

In baseball, the best players are said to have “all five tools” (hitting for percentage, hitting for power, running, fielding, and throwing). With our five tools for water purification, you’ll be the most valuable player for taking care of yourself and your loved ones in a crisis.


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