When you go camping, do you ever think about catching a Recreational Water Illness? Believe it or not, you should. They can be surprising dangerous.
During the summer months, many families go on a camping vacation, and children often go to sleep-away camp. Chances are, these folks will all run into “recreational water,” which is non-drinking water used to swim or boat in. While they’re roughing it out in nature, these people will also need drinkable water, which may not be readily available.
Let’s take a look at how we can avoid the dangers of recreational water illness, and how to make this water safe for drinking. Before you know it, you’ll be ready for any water-related hiccups Mother Nature throws your way!
What is Recreational Water Illness?
Recreational water, like water from lakes and rivers, are likely contaminated. This means that drinking it straight from the source may be dangerous. This contaminated water can cause a scary array of “recreational water illnesses.” This can range from anything from an earache to vomiting, and is often caused by germs from feces or soil.
Preventing Sickness from Recreational Water
The camping rules for water safety are pretty much the same as in any other body of water. If you have, or have recently had diarrhea, you should not go swimming. Sure, the cool water may be tempting, but swimming in this condition means that you will risk getting others sick as well. To that point, don’t swallow the water! If the water is contaminated, ingesting it can quickly cause recreational water illness.
Having diarrhea isn’t the only way to contaminate the water. We recently talked about how many people bathe in the pool instead of in the shower. As we discussed, this hurts the quality of the water significantly. What’s more is that this may be more common among campers who don’t have showers nearby. In addition, it is best not to use biodegradable soaps in natural waters. To bathe, put water (and soap, if you choose) in a bowl, bring it away from the water source and sponge yourself down. Dump water, after it is used, at least 200 feet from any other water source.
Making Water Safe for Drinking
When germs are present in your water source, you definitely won’t want to drink it. If you are camping, you can bring clean water with you. If that isn’t available, natural water will need to be treated before you can drink any of it. The best way to do this is to boil the water. This will sanitize the water by killing germs that live in it.
As we said, when germs are present in your water source, you definitely won’t want to drink it. If you are camping, you can bring extra clean water with you. If that isn’t available, the natural water will need to be treated before you can drink any of it. The best way to do this is to boil the water. This will sanitize it by killing germs that live in it. Sometimes, boiling your water isn’t an option either. In these cases, you can use disinfectant tablet is an excellent option. However you obtain it, be sure that you drink plenty of water while camping. Especially during the summer, the heat can easily dehydrate you.
There you have it – everything you need to know about bathing, drinking and avoiding illness safely while camping near water.