What are some sicknesses you can get from drinking out of streams when hiking? I ask because I used to do it all the time and never got sick as a kid.



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    You may have simply been very lucky as a kid. It depends on where in the stream you are drinking from — since the movement of the water can help purify the water to some degree.  It also depends how close to the source you are.

    There are a variety of nasty bacteria, parasites and particles that can be invisible to the naked eye.  Various protozoa (giardia and cryptosporidia) can also be present in your water supply and make you rather sick.

    In addition, streams can be contaminated with pesticides, industrial pollutants and E Coli (if any animals have decided to “do their business” near the stream.)

    I use a Katadyn filter while hiking — but other effective methods can include purification tablets (these take about half-an-hour to take effect) and/or boiling your drinking water.


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