Your concerns: I use unboiled water to wash my face

Dear doctor; I am told that unboiled water could harbor infectious microorganisms yet I use this to wash my face and brush my teeth every morning. Sometimes I feel a bit of stomach upsets in the morning, could this be the cause?

Dear doctor;

I am told that unboiled water could harbor infectious microorganisms yet I use this to wash my face and brush my teeth every morning. Sometimes I feel a bit of stomach upsets in the morning, could this be the cause?

Mary

Dear Mary,

Unboiled or untreated water harbours many infectious micro organisms. Diseases like typhoid, hepatitis A and D, intestinal amoebiasis, giardiasis and worm infestations can be caused by drinking unclean water since it is contaminated with human fecal matter or animal waste.

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However the risk is minimal when using the water to brush the teeth or wash one’s face since the amount is little. It should also not cause any problem to the stomach or intestines particularly of a normal adult living in a tropical country. It is only when the load of infectious germs is heavy that one can become sick or if one has reduced immunity due to diabetes, HIV/Aids among others.

Stomach upset in the morning can simply be due to dyspepsia or even constipation. Eat small amounts of food in the evening and eat in time for proper digestion. Also remember to take plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Avoid fats.

This should help cure it. If there is doubt of infection, a simple microscopic examination of stool can reveal the infective agent. Sufficient dose of a suitable antibiotic will cure it.

Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

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