It’s easy to take clean water for granted, and many of us don’t realize how horrible life would be without it—that is, until you don’t have any clean water at your home or in your community. Let’s take a look at what life looks like for the people who have to live this reality.

What do you do when you don’t have clean water in your home?

Step-one: boil or buy your water

If the water in your home isn’t clean, you will need to take steps to clean it yourself before you use it for any purpose—whether that purpose involves consuming the water or not. In some cases, you will be able to buy bottled water for consumption, but using bottled water for all of your washing is impractical and costly.

Considering how often you use water, this adds a pretty significant strain to your day. For instance, you would need to boil your water before using it to drink, cook with, wash your dishes, do laundry, bathe yourself, brush your teeth, wash your hands, and give water to any pets. On a hot day, you can forget filling up a wading pool or letting your kids play in the sprinkler. Any use of contaminated water that makes contact with your skin can contaminate you, and that can cause you, your family, and your pets to all fall ill as a result.

Step-two: know your enemy

If you suspect that your water is contaminated, it is probably a good idea to know what is wrong with it so you can better monitor for symptoms in case any contact does occur. You will need to test your water with frequency to monitor changes.

Step-three: monitor for associated illnesses

You’ll have to pay close attention to any symptoms you or your family display. A lot of the diseases and viruses that are caused by contaminated water move quickly and can have fatal consequences. The most common symptoms include diarrhea and stomach pain, and these could mean a number of different diseases and viruses.

The most common diseases associated with contaminated water include cholera (a bacterial infection of the gastrointestinal tract that causes severe diarrhea), E.coli infection (a bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration), dysentery (an infection that causes blood in the stool and even vomiting of blood), salmonellosis (which causes diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and cramps), and typhoid fever (causes sustained fever, profuse sweating, diarrhea, can last up to four weeks, and can lead to death).

Step-four: consequences

It has been proven that those who live without sufficient access to safe, clean water experience severe impacts in other parts of their lives. Many become accustomed to the physical effects of contamination. Fatigue, lethargy, stomach aches, and diarrhea become the norm, and this impacts their ability to learn and participate productively in their jobs.

It is very important that you test your water regularly to ensure you and your family are not drinking contaminated water. Even if you do not have a well, it is important to test your water—just look at areas like Flint, Michigan, an area that has been experiencing an ongoing water crisis. Detecting problems early is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Visit AquaKnow today to learn more about the water tests you should be conducting on a regular basis.