In a latest survey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that many people have a misconception that it is safe to use tap water with certain medical devices. The results of the survey prompted the CDC to reiterate that tap water is not sterile, and can lead to infection with waterborne pathogens.
While a majority of 1,004 survey respondents agreed that tap water is safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing hands, nearly a quarter believed it was safe to operate medical equipment such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). It is safe to use tap water for this. pots, and humidifiers.
Which Medical Devices Require Sterile Water?
Home scientific gadgets that deal with touchy regions consisting of the breathing tract want toBe used with sterile or distilled water that doesn’t incorporate dangerous microorganisms.
Sterile water does not contain microbes, but may contain inorganic substances such as minerals, while distilled water does not contain organic or inorganic substances.
Instruments that use sterilized or distilled water include:
∎ Cpap Machines
∎ Neti Pot
∎ Contact Lens Cleaning
Common waterborne pathogens, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella, can grow and form biofilms in stagnant water, creating a protective barrier that makes them resistant to disinfectant chemicals and allows germs to multiply.3
The California Department of Public Health tells Waywell that following medical device manufacturing instructions is critical to the prevention of waterborne infections. Sterilized water is likewise used to easy wounds and to disinfect many domestic scientific equipment.
Who Is at High Risk of Getting a Waterborne Infection?
According to the CDC, each year more than 7 million people get sick and 6,000 die from waterborne infections.4
While most people will not be affected by germs in tap water, some people are at higher risk of serious infections. These include people over the age of 50, infants under the age of six months, current or former smokers, and people who are immunocompromised.3
Frequent cleaning, disinfection, and maintenance of medical equipment and household items that use water is important for preventing illness, especially in high-risk groups.
“In most parts of the first world, tap water is safe for drinking and cooking,” Michelle Thi Kao, clinical professor of pulmonary, allergy and critical care medicine at Stanford Health Care, told Verywell via email. “Boiling water is recommended when using tap water to fill a humidifier system in which a person breathes in humidified air directly.”
How and When to Disinfect Tap Water
Intense climate activities also can compromise consuming water. Water sources in areas of drought have been depleted, leading to an increase in pollutants. Animal faeces, pesticides, and fertilizers have been washed away by the flood waters.5
State and local municipalities are required to notify communities if tap water is unsafe for drinking, bathing, and cooking.
Reynolds says that boiling water for three to five minutes is the most common method for sterilizing tap water to remove harmful germs, but areas of higher altitude require longer times. It is important to store boiled water in a clean, disinfected, tightly sealed container.