Waterborne pathogens are contaminants that can be present in water. Pathogens can be dangerous if they are ingested, come into contact with the skin, or enter the body through contaminated wounds.

Pathogens can be present in tap water, drinking water, and recreational water such as swimming pools and hot tubs. Here are five types of waterborne pathogens to be aware of and the steps you should take to avoid them.

1. Legionella Bacteria

This is the type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. It is found naturally in warm water environments such as hot tubs and spas. The disease is transmitted by inhaling mist containing the bacteria or through contact with contaminated water, such as faucets, shower heads, and pools. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include cough, fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. It can be fatal if not treated immediately.

To prevent the spread of the bacteria, you should install and maintain proper water filtration systems and run your spa/hot tub on a regular basis to eliminate any excess water in the pipes.

2. Cryptosporidium

This pathogen is another one that can be found in warm environments like hot tubs and spas. It can cause diarrhea if swallowed and can be transmitted through the feces of an infected person. It can also be transmitted through the air via droplets from infected people’s mouths when they cough or sneeze. This type of pathogen is often present in the water in swimming pools.

To prevent the spread of this virus, make sure to use disinfectant to sterilize your equipment and shower after swimming. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands to reduce the risk of contracting the infection.

3. Giardia

This parasite can be found in groundwater as well as surface waters. The most common way of transmission is through drinking contaminated water or unpasteurized milk. It can also be transmitted from person to person by close contact. People infected with the disease often experience chronic diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. To avoid getting infected by Giardia, you should boil or treat your water before drinking it. You can also protect yourself by avoiding sexual contact with an infected person.

4. Shigella

Also known as Shigellosis, this bacterium can be found throughout the world. It can be transmitted through contaminated food or water contaminated with stool from an infected person. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. Most cases of Shigella are mild, but it can lead to life-threatening complications in rare cases. To prevent the spread of this disease, you should avoid swimming in lakes and other freshwater sources that are not properly treated.

One of the most effective ways to prevent these infections is to install and maintain a well-maintained water system in your hot tub or spa. Also, always wash your hands thoroughly before using the tub and avoid sharing towels, clothing, and personal objects with other people.

5. Norovirus

The norovirus is one of the most frequently occurring causes of gastroenteritis worldwide. Outbreaks typically occur in long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, prisons, cruise ships, and restaurants. It is a highly contagious virus that can spread rapidly through contact with an infected person or contaminated surfaces such as counters and tables. People who become infected usually develop symptoms of fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting within 12 to 48 hours of exposure. However, not everyone will experience symptoms; the illness is usually mild, lasting only a few days. In severe cases, people can develop dehydration and require hospitalization. Although there is no cure for the norovirus, treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids to replenish lost fluids and prevent dehydration. The best way to prevent infection is to practice good hygiene at home and avoid contact with sick people.

Long-Term Exposure

Prolonged exposure to water contamination can lead to a range of health problems ranging from gastrointestinal disorders to chronic kidney damage to even cancer. Instances like the Camp Lejeune North Carolina Marine Corps Base, where contaminated water was used regularly for 30 years, have resulted in hundreds of cases of sickness and death among Marines and their families. In many cases, there is no warning when unhealthy levels of contaminants enter a water source. That’s why it’s extremely important to maintain the integrity of the water supply system in your home and for your family’s health.

If you or your loved ones have been victims of incidents involving contamination of a water source, you may be eligible to file a claim and be compensated for your losses. A personal injury lawsuit may be the only way for you to receive the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses.

A personal injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a case and help you pursue the compensation you deserve from the responsible party. Contact a legal professional to learn more about your options and begin your case today.