sick despite filtering?

futurafree

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Apr 1, 2021
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Have you ever become ill from water after filtering with a Sawyer Squeeze or similar because of viruses, algae blooms, manure, dead animals, pesticides, or minerals?

If so, please describe the water source, circumstances, symptoms, and recovery.
 

regehr

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I camp quite a bit and worst that's ever happened to me was some mild diarrhea after a couple days of drinking (filtered) heavily mineralized ground water
 

futurafree

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Apr 1, 2021
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I camp quite a bit and worst that's ever happened to me was some mild diarrhea after a couple days of drinking (filtered) heavily mineralized ground water
You knew it was heavily mineralized because of appearance or taste or beta/guidebooks?
 

regehr

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You knew it was heavily mineralized because of appearance or taste or beta/guidebooks?
this was a collection of seeps in upper Happy Canyon that were all surrounded by whitish mineral deposits. for some reason I actually happen to have a picture of filtering water at that location. here you can see the deposits near the high water mark. they're a bit subtle here but elsewhere there were big areas of white powder where the standing water had evaporated. also the water tasted a bit salty and maybe vaguely soapy or bitter. anyhow it wasn't a big deal.

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Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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If you boil the mineralize water and let it cool it precipitates out....... found this out in the Little Colorado Gorge .... the white is basiclly epsom salts..
 

futurafree

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If you boil the mineralize water and let it cool it precipitates out....... found this out in the Little Colorado Gorge .... the white is basiclly epsom salts..
So the minerals fall to the bottom after boiling and cooling? In that case, would a flocculant like alum work on mineralized water even without boiling?
 

balzaccom

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Just another perspective: If someone told me they carefully filtered all their water, and still got sick after a trip, I would immediately suspect issues of hygiene rather than ineffective filtering. In the backcountry we often do not wash our hands as often, and I have certainly heard of hikers in many areas telling stories along these lines. Admittedly, anecdotes are not scientific evidence, but that arguments works both ways in this case.
 

regehr

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Just another perspective: If someone told me they carefully filtered all their water, and still got sick after a trip, I would immediately suspect issues of hygiene rather than ineffective filtering. In the backcountry we often do not wash our hands as often, and I have certainly heard of hikers in many areas telling stories along these lines. Admittedly, anecdotes are not scientific evidence, but that arguments works both ways in this case.
A former hiking buddy of mine claimed that it is an established fact that fecal-oral contamination is the primary cause of backcountry illness. Alas, I never bothered to ask him for the citation for this. When car camping he would always create a dedicated handwash station which was a bag of water strapped to the side of his vehicle, with a little container of hand soap attached to it.
 

futurafree

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Apr 1, 2021
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Now it just seems like everyone is saying I have dookie on my hands--ha! I've actually never become ill from water despite some rank water sources, but I often hear of desert backpackers blaming stomach ailments on minerals or cows so I was looking for ways to avoid it. Maybe I've stayed healthy because I always assume my fingers are filthy so I never eat with my hands. I always use spoons or drop it straight form the packaging into my gullet.
Anyway, the ability to drink mineralized water could make some trips much easier without massive water carries. I'm thinking GC's Royal Arch loop, Dirty Devil stuff, etc.
 

Jackson

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In that case, would a flocculant like alum work on mineralized water even without boiling?
Flocculants alone have worked in my experience. Really helped clarify murky mineralized water in the Green River and San Rafael rivers.

Regarding hand washing, the maximum I do is hand sanitizer after doing my business, then washing with some Dr. Bronner's maybe once or twice in a day. Otherwise it's just a rinse in a creek here and there. I've never gotten sick to my stomach backpacking.
 
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Jan 18, 2014
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One of th causes of nausea or sometime loose bowel movement is mostly overlooked by many…when backpacking/ hiking/ working in th heat..90+, you can suffer heat related “illnesses”…stomach cramps, nausea and loose stool are some of th symptoms of overheating…when hikin in those situations, I try to have some gatorade( blue glacier powder) n mix it bout half strength in my water bottle..this along with some light snacks helps tremendously…
 

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