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As per UNICEF, around 2000 children under the age of 5 die every day due to diarrhea and out of those, approximately 18oo deaths are due to contaminated water usage, sanitation and hygiene. This is a clear indication how important clean water is for kids. During early stage of a kid, more emphasis is given on drinking water to replenish the fluid loss throughput the day due to extremely active lifestyle of kids. Again their immune system is not at par with those of adults, hence, they are affected more easily by pathogens. And entry of pathogens into human body is most easy through water.
Infants drink nearly twice the amount of water as adults as compared to their body weight. Infants drinking only formulae milk which is prepared using water consumes about one seventh of their own weight. Thus, Hazards posed by contaminated water are more acute in case of infants or kids as they are more susceptible due to high water consumption and weak immunity.
Unfit water may cause acute diarrhea, cholera, skin irritation, nervous disorders or respiratory problems. Below are some common contaminants found in water which may lead to many diseases in kids:
1) Pesticides: Exposure to pesticides in water is found to be the main cause of impaired brain and nervous system. It affects the ability of kids to behave socially and to draw and write. Higher rate of birth defects in children are found in areas with high usage of pesticides.
2) Lead: Children are more vulnerable to water contaminated with lead as it is easily absorbed by sensitive tissues of growing children. Lead contamination affects multiple body organs and is distributed to brain, liver, kidney and bones and is stored and accumulated in teeth and bones. Children who survive lead poisoning are left with mental retardation.
3) Fluoride: It mainly affects teeth and may cause discoloration of teeth. Again it affects kids more than adults.
4) Nitrates: It may prove fatal to babies who drink formula milk as it restricts the amount of oxygen reaching brain and may prove fatal for babies. It causes blue baby syndrome which happens when enough oxygen doesn’t reaches the brain and kids below six month are most susceptible to it.
5) Chlorine: It may cause stomach infections and irritation to eyes.
6) Arsenic: It may cause damage to Liver and nervous system.
Below are some most common diseases caused due to water contamination and where kids are most affected:
1) Cholera: It is one of the deadliest bacterial diseases which causes Diarrhea and vomiting along with cramps in the abdomen. Main cause of Cholera in kids is drinking contaminated water.
2) Amoebiasis: It is also called as Traveler’s Diarrhea and happens when water is contaminated with amoeba. It causes intestine and liver infections.
3) Dysentery: It is caused due to bacteria which enter through mouth in form of contaminated water. Kids suffering from dysentery may suffer from fever, vomiting, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea.
4) Diarrhea: It is one of the most common diseases happening among kids due to water contamination. It causes frequent loose stools, dehydration and even death of kids and infants.
5) Hepatitis A: It affects mainly liver and causes fever, diarrhea, nausea and weight loss among kids.
6) Lead poisoning: It causes Nervous system disorders and organ damage.
7) Arsenicosis: It is caused by drinking water having high amounts of arsenic and causes skin infection which may lead to cancer.
8) Fluorosis: It is caused by high levels of fluoride in drinking water and causes bone problems in kids.
9) Typhoid fever: It causes nausea, loss of appetite and severe headache.