Primary Science in Elementary School taught us that we should try as much as possible to stay away from contaminated water.
It explained to our 8-year-old selves that clean water is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and that clean water is the only healthy water for use. So the question is, can you shower in water with coliform?
Since showering in water with coliform isn’t as risky as drinking coliform-contaminated water, you can shower in water with Coliform if you don’t have any other option. However, it is better to avoid showing in water with coliform to avoid the risk of the water getting into your mouth as you bathe.
The reality is, not every water source is clean. The sources of natural water that contain bacteria (or coliform) are much more than sources of water that are very clean.
The chances that every untreated water sourced from a tap, a well, a borehole, or any tank maintained haphazardly contain coliform, hence making it unclean is way higher than it is clean.
We now know that we have more unclean water around us than we have clean water, and we have to make do with it.
With this fact established, since we want to live a healthy life and consciously ensure we are not sabotaging our health by using (drinking, cooking with, showering with) bacteria-contaminated water, the question is, since you know it’s bad to drink unclean water, how about showering with it? Can you shower in water that contains Coliform?
What is Coliform?
Coliform is a kind of bacteria that you will find in water bodies, aquatic areas, inside the soil, vegetative areas, and in mushy environments. They exist in water and make water contaminated.
These bacteria usually contain the galactosidase enzyme, and whenever you see them inside water, it is usually safe to assume that there’s the presence of other bacteria that might not be seen without the use of a microscope.
Coliform in itself isn’t very harmful. Yes, when you drink water containing coliform, it can cause you a mild stomach upset or nausea, or skin irritation when you bath with coliform-contaminated water, they don’t cause grievous illnesses, except another type of harmful, microscopic bacteria is present in the water, and it is highly likely.
Remember, it is safe to assume that other pathogens and bacteria are present in the water when you notice coliform in it. They are indicators that the water is unclean.
Is Coliform in Water Harmful?
While some coliform bacteria are harmful, some are not. The typical coliform bacteria aren’t exactly harmful, but since these bacteria can serve as an indication that there are other pathogens present, drinking or showering with coliform-infected water can cause harm.
The type of harm referred to here isn’t a serious illness, or that drinking or showering with coliform-infected water will lead to terminal illness—except in extreme cases where an unknown pathogen that can destroy internal organs has infected the water.
The type of harm that coliform can cause to humans is little health concerns such as diarrhea, stomach upsets, fever, skin irritation, and other types of skin reactions.
This is more pronounced in individuals whose white blood cells are not strong enough to battle foreign bodies, and individuals that fall under this category are children, elderly ones, and people who already are battling one illness or the other.
Then again, some coliform bacteria are completely harmless and will not cause any of the listed illnesses.
Can You Shower in Water with Coliform?
Although it is risky, showering in water with coliform isn’t a very big risk, at least not as risky as drinking it, and even drinking such water is not a completely grievous thing to do, as coliform bacteria themselves are not seriously harmful.
However, let’s not get it twisted, showering in water with coliform that causes harm might expose you to skin reactions and skin irritations.
You might begin to notice rashes on your skin, dryness from dead skin cells, skin peeling, small swells, redness, scratches, and other unevenness on your skin. There’s even a risk of the water getting into your mouth as you take your shower.
You could shower in water with coliform, but these are the risks that you will be taking. Almost 80% of the time, you might not even experience these consequences because chances are that the coliform bacteria in the bathing water are completely harmless, but you still will be taking chances with your health. Is that what you want to do?
What are the Health Dangers of Coliform?
Coliform bacteria are harmful to the health when ingested or used in any way often, and untreated. They might not cause severe illnesses, but many sure are harmful. Here are some of the health dangers of coliform.
- Stomach aches/upsets
- Throwing up
- Other illnesses might be caused by unknown pathogens.
Dangers of Showering in Water with Coliform
You should certainly expect dangers when you shower with unclean, contaminated water. There are certain health risks you will be taking if you go ahead to shower in water that contains coliform.
Some of the risks or dangers of showering in water with coliform are explained below:
Showering in contaminated water can cause illness, especially if it gets into your eyes mouth. Occasionally, when we take a shower, a tiny portion of the water can find its way into our mouths, and then into our system.
This can also pass for drinking, and drinking contaminated water will cause illness in the form of fever, diarrhea, etc. To avoid illness, you must use clean water to have your bath.
2. Skin Reactions
Your skin can also react to coliform contaminated water. Imagine showing with well water that smells like rotten eggs, what are you even thinking?
Showering in water with coliform can make your skin color uneven, cause redness rashes, scratches, swelling, and even peeling to your skin.
When your skin starts to react in this way, you now have to spend money for treatment that you would otherwise have used on something else.
This is why double-checking your water to be sure it is free of coliform is the right thing to do for your health.
3. Eye Redness/Reactions
Bathing in water with coliform can also cause eye reactions if it gets into your eye. This consequence might be dire as the eye is the light of the body. Coliform water can threaten the health of your eyes, and this is not a risk you want to take.
Will Boiling Water Remove Coliform Bacteria?
Yes! Boiling water that has coliform or you suspect has other kinds of pathogens will free your water of these pathogens. To be sure, you have to boil for at least one minute.
When you boil water for use, whether drinking or bathing, it kills whatever bacteria reside in it and renders it completely useless. That way, such bacteria will have no power to cause you harm.
After boiling water that has coliform bacteria for at least one minute, you can then go ahead to use it for any purpose without any worry.
As much as you can, ensure that you use clean water for whatever purpose that has to do with your body. You can go ahead to use contaminated water to flush your toilets, or even wash your dishes as long as you will clean your dishes before use, but when it comes to matters of the body and your internal organs, you should go for the best of the best. Quality meals and quality water births quality health and create a quality life.