Apr 12 , 2023
When you think of the summer, what comes to mind? You may think of outdoor grilling, time to relax, and outdoor water activities like swimming in nearby lakes or swimming holes to cool off. But now there’s a new threat lurking in the water that can cause serious illness and death. We’ve got everything you need to know to keep you and your family safe from this new threat.
Naegleria fowleri is a single-celled microbe commonly known as the ‘brain-eating amoeba.’ It’s commonly found in soil and mud at the bottom of freshwater sources like rivers and lakes. N. fowleri is drawn to heat, which explains why it crops up during warm weather. On its own, the amoeba is harmless and behaves like a typical bacteria-eating organism.
The trouble starts when N. fowleri-contaminated water comes into contact with the nasal mucosa, often by accidentally inhaling muddy water. This will cause primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a rare disease that has only affected 154 people in the last 61 years in the United States. Once infected, the disease progresses very rapidly, with a 90% mortality rate.
There is some good news, however: You cannot get N. fowleri simply by drinking contaminated water, and it is not contagious. The protozoan can only cause PAM when contaminated water is introduced into the nasal tract. However, a Florida man recently died after using N. fowleri-contaminated tap water to irrigate his sinuses and wash his face, in what may be the first instance of a PAM death resulting from tap water rather than fresh, untreated water.
This may all sound a little frightening, but you don’t have to give up your swimming hole visits. We’ve got some tips to keep you safe from N. fowleri.
What Can You Do to Keep N. fowleri at Bay?
- Take care when swimming in lakes and rivers and washing your face with tap water. If you go swimming or want to wash your face, use nose plugs to prevent any accidental inhalation. You may also want to wear them in the shower or bath.
- Use distilled or boiled water for nasal irrigation. We’re not telling you to give up your neti pot. However, both manufacturers and the FDA recommend that you only rinse with distilled or sterile water. If you must use tap water, be sure to boil it for 3–5 minutes and allow it to cool before use.
- Use a King Water Filtration whole-home system. KWF offers systems that are able to kill bacteria and Protozoa through our unique and thorough filtration process. With a whole-home system, you’ll be able to safeguard every water point in your home, including bath and shower faucets.
While it’s wise to use preventative measures for outdoor water recreation, let King Water Filtration give you peace of mind by keeping N. fowleriout of your home’s tap water for good. If you’re interested in setting up a KWF system in your home, contact us at our online support form here or call us at 855-957-2166.