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Last week's winter storm left so many people here in Northwest Louisiana without fresh, clean, drinking water that it's not even close to funny, and for those who do have water, most are under a "Boil Advisory."

This brings up a significant question. "Will it kill me if I forget to boil my water before drinking it?"

In a couple words; probably not. But, it could bring on some gastrointestinal issues that you'd much rather avoid.  And it hasn't been that long ago that Bossier City was having to flush its water lines to kill "brain eating amoeba" so you'd probably want to avoid that if it happens to be present in the system right now.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, here are some ideas on how to handle your water supply during a crisis:

Standard recommendations usually include this advice:

  • Use bottled or boiled water for drinking, and to prepare and cook food.
  • If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes), then allow it to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.
  • Breastfeeding is the best infant feeding option. If you formula feed your child, provide ready-to-use formula, if available.

Handwashing

  • In many situations, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands. Follow the guidance from your local public health officials.
  • Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and rinse them well under running water.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Bathing and showering

  • Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.
  • Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Brushing teeth

  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated tap water.

I don't want to come off as preachy, but "it's always better to be safe than sorry" and with the stomach issues that contaminated water can bring on, this could be a "sorry" you'd much rather avoid.

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