Water is one of our most precious resources and is used for drinking, recreation, and sanitation. Water can also spread illness when it is contaminated by disease-causing organisms, which are found worldwide. Many water-borne diseases cause gastroinestinal illness, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomache aches or pain, and gas. Some water-borne pathogens can cause severe disease.
You can prevent water-borne diseases:
- Do not drink untreated water from springs, streams, or lakes while hiking or camping in the parks.
- Disinfect and filter, or boil fresh water before drinking. See NPS guidance on these two ways to purify water. The CDC has additional guidance for drinking water treatment methods for backcountry and travel use.
- Wash your hands before handling or eating food and after using the toilet, and learn more about the importance and correct techniques for handwashing.
Last updated: May 7, 2018