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Have a nice cold - and safe - drink of water while you're out on a hike but purify it to avoid sickness

Pills and purification devices
Posted at 7:25 PM, Jul 02, 2024

BOISE, ID — Ever go hiking and think about taking a nice cool drink from a stream? I'm Senior Reporter Roland Beres and this week in Wellness Wednesday learn why that’s a truly bad idea and what you can do to stay safe and hydrated at the same time.

Summer is a great time to get out and experience the wilderness of Idaho, but the heat can be dangerous, so it’s important to stay hydrated.

You might be tempted to try some water from a pretty little stream, especially if you run out of water. But that temptation is often a recipe for disaster.

“Even though water is clear, you don’t know what’s in," said Dr. Daniel Meltzer. "There can be lots of microscopic organisms that can get us really sick and really uncomfortable."

The good news is you can drink the water, you just need to have the proper equipment with you to make it safe.

“There’s readily available purification devices that we can get at most outdoor stores that can help us either in the form of straws or tablets and there are experts in the stores that can help us,” said Meltzer.

The best methods of water treatment are iodine pills, filtration devices, ultraviolet light or just plain boiling it.

The pills can cost as little as $10 and the filtration devices can go up to $100 or more.