The biggest concern of private well owners is some sort of medical issue springing up due to their well water. With 15 million households in the United States depending on well water for living, it is a fair concern. Luckily, organizations like the EPA and CDC track biological contaminants. While the risks of contamination are low, it is important to know what the possibilities are. This week, we are examining the most common well contaminants. Read on to learn what those contaminants are, and which ones are most common. The ranking information in this article comes from the CDC.
Number One: Hepatitis A
Hepatitis A is the most common contaminant in residential wells. It is a communicable disease that attacks the liver. It causes symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, jaundice, and exhaustion. However, there is a pretty easy way to prevent Hepatitis A – through a vaccine.
Number Two: Giardia
Giardia is a parasite that causes giardiasis. Giardiasis presents symptoms such as nausea, upset stomach, problems with bowel movements, and dehydration. Those symptoms may fade in and out over the course of several weeks. It is a very risky sickness for children as it causes potential mental and physical delays as well as malnutrition.
Number Three: E. coli & Campylobacter
Different strains of e. coli cause different types of issues, from no symptoms at all to pneumonia. Obviously, this causes serious concern because the confirmation of e. coli means very little without a specific strain. Generally, e. coli tends to lead to stomach issues.
Campylobacter is a stomach illness that lasts about a week. More severe cases require antibiotics, but generally it runs its course in about a week. Typically, the most common symptoms are diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
Number Four: Shigella
Shigella is a bacteria that causes a wise range of stomach issues. The symptoms resolve themselves in a week or less. The issue with shigella is that it is extremely easy to transmit. Even if someone shows absolutely no symptoms, they can transmit it to others.
Number Five: Cryptosporidium & Salmonella
Cryptosporidium, more commonly known as “crypto”, is a parasite that causes stomach problems. Dehydration, nausea, vomiting, fever, weight loss, bowel issues, and more are all common issues.
Salmonella bacteria causes similar symptoms as crypto does. However, the symptoms of salmonella vary widely in severity. Some people never realize they have salmonella, others are hospitalized, and those with weak immune symptoms may even pass away.
Number Six: Arsenic, Gasoline
Arsenic poisoning ranges in severity, depending on the amount ingested. Symptoms range from nausea and vomiting to death. Typically, patients experience an unusual cardiac rhythm, “pins and needles” sensation, and a feeling of being sick to their stomach. However, the symptoms may be as mild as slight discomfort.
Gasoline, yes the gasoline that goes into vehicles sometimes gets into the water supply. Ingesting that gasoline often leads to a “sick to the stomach” sensation, as well as stomach pain.