Viral or bacterial contaminants in your water are impossible to detect through smell, taste, or sight, so it is possible to go years with dangerous contaminants in your water without even knowing it. While there are several types of waterborne microbes, not many actually cause illness. Some of these microbes are actually good for you. There are, however, some that are much more dangerous than others. Some of the dangerous microbes that can be found in your water include E. coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium.
E. coli can cause some serious, unpleasant, and dangerous symptoms if you are exposed to it. Some early symptoms of exposure include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea (that is often bloody), high fever, malaise, loss of appetite, and mild dehydration. Some later symptoms of E. coli infection are far more severe. They include hemorrhagic diarrhea (large amounts of blood in the stools), anemia, pale skin color, severe dehydration, little or no urine output, severe abdominal pains, easy bruising, nosebleeds, fatigue, shortness of breath, generalized swelling, kidney failure, jaundice, excessive bleeding, seizures, mental changes, or even death.
This parasite is most often waterborne and can cause some unpleasant symptoms. Although the sickness typically clears up after a few weeks of exposure to this parasite, you may experience international problems long after the parasites are gone. The symptoms of Giardia infection typically last around 2-6 weeks, but it may last longer or recur for some. Some of the symptoms are watery, sometimes foul-smelling diarrhea that may alternate with soft, greasy stools, fatigue, malaise, abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, flatulence, nausea, and weight loss.
While exposure to Cryptosporidium often does not last longer than a few weeks, if the infection is not taken care of it can become life-threatening. If the issue is taken care of and you have a healthy immune system, the issues may only persist for one to two weeks. Some people with the infection may not even experience any symptoms, but others may experience extreme symptoms sporadically throughout a whole month. The symptoms of Cryptosporidium exposure include watery diarrhea, dehydration, lack of appetite, weight loss, stomach cramps, stomach pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.