Why Do We Need to Purify Water Before Drinking: Survival Safety Basics

From reality TV to zombie shows, you’ve seen it even if you’ve never done it. Purifying water before drinking it is vital, but why is it such a big deal. Do people actually die from drinking dirty water? Surely this is just one of those things people are over-sterilizing, or is it? More than half of your body is made up of water, and without it, we’d surely perish. The planet is also mostly water, though we can’t drink most of it. Water is everywhere. Anyone can see when water is muddy, polluted, or otherwise full of junk. Unfortunately, what we can see doesn’t tell much of the story. For the critical stuff, we need to get microscopic. All the things your eyes can’t detect are right there in your water, and like a virus, they can still make you very sick. I’ll walk you through the invisible dangers in your water and explain some simple ways of purifying it.

Why do we need to purify water before drinking? We need to purify water before we drink it to remove contaminants that can harm the human body. Whether you see it or not, bacteria and microorganisms lurk in the water. Sometimes you can’t smell or taste the difference, but that won’t stop you from becoming sick, so don’t take an unnecessary risk. 

Why We Need to Purify Water Before Drinking

The human body is an amazing thing that can survive in extreme conditions, but sometimes it’s the little, invisible things that we can’t handle. We need to purify our water before we drink it, so it doesn’t make us sick or kill us. Although that may sound extreme, bad water can kill you. 

Hopefully, you’ll never be in a situation where there’s no clean water. However, there’s a whole lot more unsafe water on earth than there is H2O we can drink. Being prepared to clean your own water is one of those basic skills they should teach to young children, and yet most adults know little to nothing about it beyond perhaps seeing someone boil water on TV. Is that all it takes?

Boiling water is a good start, and frankly, it’s better than nothing. Heat can kill some of the contaminants that get into the water, but you need to do more to have safe, potable, pure water. Carrying some water purification tabs will help, but a good filter can do a lot more. Best of all, you can combine these methods and take advantage of all three. 

Carrying a Miniwell Gravity Ultralight Versatile Hiker Water Filter from Amazon in your BOB will keep you in safe, pure drinking water. Not only can this lightweight, packable filter handle two thousand gallons, but it also works quickly. You can use gravity to filter on the go. Click here for more information

What Is Water Hiding

Using your senses and instincts are vital to survival. Naturally, anything that looks or smells off is probably bad for you. Sensing something wrong is how your body warns you that it has detected danger, so when you hesitate, listen to your instincts. However, not all problems are obvious. One such case is water.

You may never see, taste, smell, or even feel that your drink is hiding a danger. There are numerous ways that outside contaminants get into our water supply, and most are not as obvious as sediment or discoloration. Below is a quick list of what you need to remove before water is safe to consume. 

  1. Bacteria- E Coli is the most well-known bacteria that gets into our water supply. Regrettably, it is not alone. From dead bodies and poop to people and animals going for a swim, it’s not hard to end up with bacteria in your drinking water. 
  2. Heavy Metals- Humans are surprisingly sensitive to excess heavy metals in their bodies. Impurities leech from the soil or a bad container. 
  3. Microorganisms- Protozoa, like Giardia and Cryptosporidium, are among the most familiar microorganisms found in potable water. Single-celled parasites are sneaky. They can spend days in your body, just building a colony before you ever start to feel sick.  
  4. Viruses- Many viruses travel well in water droplets. Normally you can go to a hospital and get treatment, but not all viruses have cures. Moreover, you may not have access to a well-stocked hospital when SHTF. 
  5. Chemicals & Pollution- Falling from the sky, or leaking out of a toxic waste barrel or gas pipe, chemicals and pollution are everywhere. 
  6. Fungus- You may think of mushrooms when you hear fungus, but there are many varieties like ringworm and athletes foot. Most fungal spores won’t kill you, but they can still make you sick. 

How Can You Purify Water

There are dozens of ways to purify water before you drink it. Some are easier to manage than others, but there’s a lot you can do with some basic equipment. I always recommend boiling, then cooling your water first.

Add an appropriate amount of water purifier. Typically you need one dose per liter or gallon. Since most of these agents take time to kill contaminants within the water, you need to let it sit for a while. 

Patented Purinize from Amazon is great for camping, backpacking, and survival. It kills Giardia and E. Coli. Plus, it’s straightforward to use. A single bottle can purify up to fifteen gallons of water, which will get you through most temporary emergencies easily. Best of all, it has no shelf life limitation, so you can store it as long as you need it. See the outstanding reviews by clicking here. 

Using a simple additive that kills microorganisms will keep you from getting sick. Boiling beforehand helps even more. Finally, you may want to invest in water purification filters to be really sure you’re getting contaminants out of your questionable water source. 

Use A Filter

In addition to boiling and using an additive to help kill harmful microorganisms, it’s important to carry a filter. Avoiding contaminated water can save your health or your life in an emergency. Moreover, having filters as a backup plan means you always have another option to get a drink.

It’s easy to accidentally lose part of your gear if you fall or need to run from a wild animal or human aggressor. Thieves take things, and we forget to grab important items on our way out the door. Redundancies save lives. 

Taking extra steps to remove any remaining contaminants is just smart. According to the National Park System, “Filtration systems with an absolute pore size less than or equal to 1-micron filter have high effectiveness in removing cryptosporidium and giardia.” They also note that you should always check the alerts to see if there are any special water dangers like chemical spills and algal bacteria where you plan to travel. 

I recommend adding a LifeStraw Universal Water Filter Bottle Adapter Kit to camelbacks and other water bottles. Lifestraw is a well known and trusted brand. Moreover, the microbiological filter in these kits removes 99.999999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.999% of waterborne protozoan parasites. The activated carbon capsule is replaceable, and it removes chlorine and other chemicals. Best of all, these kits will clean up to a thousand gallons, and even improve the taste of some water. To have a Lifestraw Waterbottle Adapter Kit delivered to your door when you order from Amazon, click right here. 

Is Purified Water Safe to Drink

You may have seen or read a story about over purified water leaching minerals out of the human body. While that can happen, most purified water is perfectly safe to drink. Still, this question comes up surprisingly often. In short, you shouldn’t worry about the water being ‘too pure.’

Ensure you take the time to purify your water before you drink it and then sip away with confidence. Over purified water is a result of extreme measures, usually undertaken in lab conditions, which result in water that has no mineral content left at all. Your average boil, treat and filter isn’t going to produce something like that. It will only make the water safe for you to drink. 

Final Thoughts

No matter how clean and clear water looks, even when it smells and tastes great, you need to purify water before drinking it. Most of the dangers are things you can’t see, and you may not know they’re there until they make you sick. Avoid this problem by making sure you only drink safe water.

In a survival situation, things are already dangerous enough without adding risks and problems. By taking time to purify your water, you can cut out one more risk, which raises your chances of success. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. 

Make sure you pack water purification tabs and a filtration system in every gear cache from your EDC to your bug out or bug in location, so you have a backup supply. You never know when your access to clean water will get cut off.

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