When we think about allergies, our mind usually diverts our attention to hay fever or food allergies. After all, as revealed by EMedicineHealth, these are some of the most common allergies in the world. However, our water supply can also play a significant role in exacerbating allergy symptoms.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 100 million people across the US experience various types of allergies every year. Many of these allergies, although we may not know it, can be caused by the water we use and consume.
In this article, we will explore some of the ways your water supply could be causing your allergies and what you can do to mitigate these issues.
Chlorine and Chemical Contaminants
Chlorine is commonly used in municipal water treatment plants to disinfect water and kill harmful bacteria. While it’s an essential step in ensuring water safety, chlorine itself can be a potential allergen for some individuals, according to the ACAAI Public Website.
When chlorine comes into contact with your skin during showers or baths, it can lead to skin irritation and dryness and exacerbate existing skin conditions like eczema. Moreover, inhaling chlorine vapors while showering can irritate the respiratory tract, triggering allergy-like symptoms in susceptible individuals.
In addition to chlorine, tap water may contain other chemical contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and industrial pollutants. Long-term exposure to these substances through drinking or even skin contact can contribute to the development of allergic reactions and other health issues.
Consider installing a whole-house water filtration system that can effectively remove chlorine and other chemical contaminants from your water supply. Alternatively, using a showerhead filter can also help reduce chlorine exposure during showers.
Agricultural runoff, industrial waste, and other pollutants can easily contaminate groundwater. Using or consuming this water can lead to various health issues, including allergic reactions, something that was evident in the Camp Lejeune case.
According to TorHoerman Law, between 1953 to 1987, the Camp Lejeune water supply was contaminated with toxic and dangerous chemicals. Several Camp Lejeune residents, including military personnel and civilian workers living and working in that area, developed severe medical conditions like cancer. Right now, the people exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water are seeking legal action to secure compensation for their illnesses and damages.
Currently, the payout for Camp Lejeune is expected to be around $6.1 billion. This goes to show just how grave the situation can get when contaminated groundwater is involved. Apart from allergies, you might also have to deal with deadly diseases like cancer.
Concerned authorities must take action before it’s too late when it comes to groundwater contamination. They would want to avoid another Camp Lejeune incident for which they must keep all industries that use toxic chemicals in check. Without strict policies and governance, it won’t be possible to prevent groundwater contamination.
Hard Water Minerals
Hard water contains high quantities of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Drinking hard water is not harmful, but using it for washing dishes or appliances can lead to the formation of mineral deposits on them. More importantly, these mineral deposits can also irritate your skin and exacerbate conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Furthermore, when hard water is heated, it can lead to the formation of mineral-rich particles in the air. Inhaling these particles can irritate the respiratory system, causing allergy-like symptoms such as sneezing and congestion.
Consider installing a water softener to reduce the hardness of your water. Softened water is less likely to cause skin irritation and will also help prolong the life of your plumbing and appliances.
Microorganisms and Pathogens
While water treatment plants strive to eliminate harmful microorganisms and pathogens from the water supply, some may still manage to make their way into your tap water. Bacteria, viruses, and protozoa can lead to waterborne illnesses and allergic reactions in certain individuals.
For instance, Legionella bacteria, which can be found in untreated water sources, may thrive in plumbing systems, especially in warm, stagnant water. When inhaled through shower aerosols or faucets, it can cause a severe form of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease.
Regularly clean and disinfect your plumbing fixtures, and consider running the water for a few minutes before use if it has been sitting stagnant for an extended period. Additionally, consider using point-of-use water filters specifically designed to remove bacteria and pathogens.
Now that you’re aware of how your water supply can cause allergies and the possible solutions to these problems, it’s time you think about taking appropriate actions. Some of the actions you can take by yourself, while others will need you to get in touch with your local government and other concerned authorities who oversee your water supply and local water bodies.
Whatever you do, don’t wait on this problem. The more you delay, the greater chances that you’re putting your own life at risk of allergies.