Water Purification
By Erika M. Seitz

  Have you ever gone hiking- no matter what time of year, and looked down at a brisk clear stream surrounded by leaves, trees, and stones- and thought... I would love a taste of that crisp, cold water?

  Many people do, and then actually follow through with their drink of wilderness water. Humans lack self-control for nature's beauty. We need to plunge right in to mother nature's backyard. One thing we forget is that mother nature also cares for the small things, like Giardia.

giardia Giardia lamblia

   Giardia lamblia is a parasite that affects the gastrointestinal tract of humans, The most common form of Giardia exists in the form of non-active cysts. These cysts are present in feces and can live in air-borne environments for an extended period of time. Once ingested, the cysts use the stomach acid and enzyme amylase to activate the cysts into bacteria. The bacteria then cling to the walls of the intestinal tract thus causing symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting and fatigue. Without medical treatment of antibiotics, giardia and spread and cause severe illness.

  The best way to prevent Giardia lamblia is to always treat your water in the woods. There are multiple was to do this.

water filter Water Filters

    I have and recommend a water filter made by Katadyn. You can lay the hose right into the stream and pump fresh, clean filtered water into your canteen. It is rather expensive and replacement filters can be hard to come by and turn into an investment.

iodine Iodine

    The second way to treat your water is to use iodine, This is a great method but has some unfavorable side effects. The taste is not forgiving, and you have to wait at least an hour before you drink the water. However, for long hikes, space can be an issue and a bottle of iodine is lightweight.

  Always remember to filter your water when in the woods, regardless of temptation. Although we enthusiasts follow the guidelines of separating our waste from our drinking sources, your outdoors pets don't know better and are often the sources. Just because you can't see it; believe it!!