7 Common Waterborne Illnesses & How to Prevent Them

Waterborne illnesses are sicknesses you can get from water that has dangerous microorganisms in it, like harmful bacteria, viruses, or tiny creatures called parasites. The water you consume might look clean, but there’s a chance it has these microorganisms in it that can make you sick.

These illnesses can come into your life in different ways, such as drinking dirty water, using it to cook your food, or even when you are having a fun day swimming.

Here is the good news: you can avoid getting sick from waterborne illnesses if you know the right things to do. That’s why we are here to help. We will give you tips on how to recognize the signs of these diseases and how to prevent them. Read on to know how you can keep these illnesses far away from you.


You might have not thought that cancer, of all things, would be here on this list, but that’s what is happening here at Camp Lejeune. Between 1953 and 1987, dangerous chemicals found their way into the camp’s water systems, affecting as many as a million people. The list of compounds comprised volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which encompassed trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, 1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE), and vinyl chloride.

During this period, individuals stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina faced a heightened risk of developing specific cancers. If you are a veteran who had served at Camp Lejeune during that time, you may be eligible for compensation. Visit for more information.

Protecting Yourself from Typhoid

Typhoid is a disease that occurs when someone consumes water or food contaminated with a bacteria called Salmonella typhi, often found in the feces of an infected person. This illness can cause high fever, stomach pains, and even rose-colored spots on the skin. Fortunately, protecting yourself from typhoid is quite straightforward.

You should always opt for water from secure and clean sources. Make it a habit to boil your drinking water or treat it with proper chemicals in order to eliminate the harmful bacteria that cause typhoid. You also need to be cautious about what you eat.

Avoid eating raw vegetables that have not been cleaned properly. Moreover, always wash your hands with soap diligently before eating, as this is a simple yet powerful practice to keep typhoid at bay.

Staying Safe from Cholera

Cholera is a serious illness brought about by the bacteria known as Vibrio cholerae. This kind of bacteria often finds its way into the water and food we consume, mainly through contaminated water sources. When people get infected, they experience severe diarrhea, which can lead to dangerous levels of dehydration.

Avoiding cholera, therefore, hinges greatly on adhering to excellent hygiene practices. A straightforward yet powerful act you can perform is washing your hands properly and regularly, particularly when you are about to prepare or eat food.

Also, it is wise to eat meals that are cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria present in the food. Another important habit is to ensure the water you drink comes from sources that are clean and safe.

Also Read: Listen to Your Body: 7 Signs of Hidden Illness

Guarding Against Giardia

Giardia is a type of parasite that is often found in the intestines of both humans and animals who have been infected. This parasite can easily find its way into water supply — including the natural waters of lakes, rivers, and even pools. When people consume this contaminated water, be it through drinking or accidental swallowing while swimming, they risk becoming hosts to this unwelcome guest.

Protecting yourself from giardia is quite simple. Before you drink water, especially if it’s from an open source or not from your regular supply, make it a habit to either filter or boil it. This simple action can eliminate the parasite and keep you safe. Another smart habit is to keep your mouth shut while swimming to ensure you don’t swallow any water, guarding yourself against giardia effectively.


Steering clear of dysentery involves understanding what it is and how it spreads. Dysentery is a condition that causes inflammation in your intestines, leading to severe diarrhea, among other symptoms. This illness can catch on through consuming food or water that has been contaminated with specific bacteria or parasites.

Preventing dysentery chiefly involves maintaining a high level of hygiene. This includes washing your hands thoroughly with soap at regular intervals, especially before eating or preparing food. Ensuring that your environment is clean is equally essential. Be cautious about the source of your water and food. Go for treated water and well-cooked meals to reduce the risk of infection.

Preventing E. coli Infections

Escherichia coli, commonly known as E. Coli, is a type of bacteria that often finds its way into our environment from human and animal waste. When water sources become polluted with this bacteria, it poses a risk to our health. Drinking this contaminated water can lead to severe health issues. To keep yourself safe from E. coli infections, always choose to drink water that has undergone proper treatment.

This ensures that harmful bacteria have been removed or neutralized. Moreover, be cautious with your food choices. Consuming raw milk or meats that aren’t cooked thoroughly can increase the risk of E. coli infection. A fundamental step in prevention is maintaining proper hygiene. Regular hand washing can go a long way in protecting you and your loved ones from potential infections.

How to Avoid Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease caused by a specific virus. It can affect anyone, leading to symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe liver problems. One of the primary ways this illness spreads is by consuming food or water tainted with the virus, often originating from an infected person’s hands.

Now, the good news is you can take steps to avoid it. First and foremost, getting vaccinated against Hepatitis A is your best defense. This simple step offers strong protection against the virus. Alongside this, practicing good hygiene is essential. Regularly washing your hands, especially after visiting the restroom and before eating, is crucial. These combined actions will go a long way in ensuring you stay safe from this disease.


In conclusion, waterborne illnesses can have severe impacts on our health, but fortunately, they are preventable through straightforward measures. Emphasizing cleanliness in our daily routines, from the water we drink to the hygiene practices we maintain, can be powerful tools in avoiding these illnesses. Moreover, being cautious about your surroundings and the sources of your water and food can go a long way. Let’s work towards a healthier, safer life by being water-wise and hygiene-conscious.

Cheryl Henson

Cheryl Henson is a passionate blogger and digital marketing professional who loves writing, reading, and sharing blogs on various topics.

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