©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  Helping the Immunocompromised Individual      Some individuals, such as AIDS or cancer chemotherapy patients with weakened immune systems, have special needs for drinking water quality.      A particular threat  in drinking water is Cryptosporidium, the one-celled parasite that causes Cryptosporidiosis.  In otherwise healthy individuals, Crypto can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and a low- grade fever.  These symptoms last from one to two weeks, by which time the immune system is usually able to stop the infection.  For someone with a weakened immune system, however, Crypto can be long-lasting and sometimes fatal.      Because prevention is the best medicine for this disease, immuno- compromised individuals are advised to take extra measures to ensure the safety of their drinking water.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have published guidelines on methods to cut the risk of infection and answer some frequently asked questions regarding drinking water quality.      The CDC guidelines direct immunocompromised individuals to check with their local health department and water utility to see if they have issued any special notices about the use of local tap water by people with weakened immune systems.  Additional precautions include boiling water for one full minute, filtering water with certain types of home filters or drinking certain types of bottled water.  These guidelines should be followed all the time and not just at home. Read Bottled Water Labels for Clues      The CDC recommend that immunocompromised individuals read labels on bottled water before purchasing it.  According to the CDC guidelines, any of the following processes found on the label are effective against Crypto:   Reverse Osmosis treated Distilled Filtered through an absolute 1 micron or smaller filter "One micron absolute"      According to the CDC, water labeled with the following may or may not have been processed by a method effective against Crypto: Filtered Micro-filtered Carbon filtered Particle filtered Multimedia filtered Ozonated Ozone treated Ultraviolet light treated Activated carbon treated Carbon dioxide treated Ion exchange treated Deionized Purified Chlorinated      The term "well water", "artesian well water", "spring water", or "mineral water" on bottled water labels do not guarantee that the water does not contain Crypto, according to the CDC guidelines. Filters Made to Remove Crypto Will Say So      Filtering tap water is one way to remove Crypto and other contaminants.  However, because not all home filters are created equal, the CDC offers guideline on what qualities to look for in a filter that will be used to guard against Crypto.  The CDC's information is taken from the U.S. Public Health Service's Guidelines for Prevention of Opportunistic Infections in Persons with HIV.      Filters designed to remove Crypto will indicate this on the package labeling with any of the four following messages: Reverse Osmosis (with or without NSF International testing) "Absolute" pore size of 1 micron or smaller (with or without NSF International testing) Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 for cyst removal Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 for cyst reduction      Immunocompromised individuals should avoid filters labeled only with the following words because they may not be designed to remove Crypto: "Nominal" pore size of 1 micron or smaller One micron filter Effective against Giardia Effective against parasites Carbon filter Water purifier EPA approved (caution-EPA does not approve test filters) EPA registered (caution-EPA does not register filters for removal) Activated Carbon Removes chlorine Ultraviolet light Pent iodide resins Water softener      Proper filter maintenance is crucial to its reliability.  Filters collect germs from the water, so someone without a weakened system should change the filter cartridges or else wear gloves and wash their hands afterwards. MAHONING VALLEY WATER