For our native British Ancestors water was the gate way to the spirit world, to the lands of their gods. In to which the gave precious offerings and prayers - but to modern man water has just becoming a dumping ground, into which we throw our waste and chemicals!!
Where we run our courses in Sweden water can be crunk straight from the lake, its safe and clean but unfortunately over most of the rest of the world we have to purify our water to be safe.
Below are details of the two main nasties we are trying to avoid!
Symptoms of Giardiasis (common called Giarda)
A large volume of foul smelling, loose (but not watery) stools seven to ten days after ingestion, accompanied by abdominal distensions =, flatulence, and cramping, especially in conjunction with wilderness or foreign travel (other sources to consider are domestic dogs and cats and preschool day-care centres.
Sudden onset of explosive diarrhoea seven to ten days after ingestion.
Nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite as well as headaches and low grade fever.
Acute symptoms can last seven to twenty one days and may become chronically persistent or relapsing.
In chronic cases, bulky, loose, foul smelling stools may persist or recur – they may float and be light in colour.
In chronic cases significant weight loss can occur due to malabsorption
Chronic symptoms may include flatulence, bloating, constipation and upper abdominal cramps.
Many individuals, unknowingly are asymptomatic passers of cysts.
(If you think you have Giarda you should see a physician for stool testing and have medication prescribed, though it’s thought that most cases resolve spontaneously within 4 – 6 weeks. With any diarrhoea illness replenishing body fluids is critical. Keep in mind that the symptoms given above are non-specific many other problems can exhibit the same symptoms. In fact when testing samples nowadays it is recommended to test for both Giarda and another protozoan prolific in surface waters Cryptosoridium.)
Giarda cysts can be present in springs rising up from the earth as well as rivers and streams – these cysts or found to be both season and regional so it cant be predicted where the exist or went. While it is still possible to found fresh clean drinking water in the wilderness the risks of Giarda far out weight any time savings made in not purifying your drinking water – at the end of the day it isn’t worth the risk.
This parasite causes the illness crytosporidiosis and is found in backcountry waters often in greater concentrations than Giarda. As a protozoan it is similar to Giarda in all the following ways – fecal-oral transmission, intestinal propagation, viability in water for long periods, passage between humans and animals, characteristics of acute symptoms, potential for chronic affliction and occurrence of asymptomatic carriers.
Cryptosoridium however is highly resistant to chlorine – much more so than Giarda.
Generally speaking boiling is still the safest way of treating water. Bring your water to a rolling boil and this will kill all parasites and cysts - however if your source is chemically infected it may concentrate the chemicals so beware.
A safer means of purification is a filter - aviod filters which do not purify the water also!! These are more common than you think so always check the small print before buying. In my opinion the best filter system available to date is the PreMac filter, these clean and purify the water and thus render it safe to drink - the Iodine residue left also cleans the waterbottle and aids us in avoiding cross contamination threw sloppy drills or accidents.
Without water there can not be life - always ensure you drink from the dafest, cleanest source!!