April 7th is World Health Day, which celebrates Our Planet, Our Health this year, and is led by the World Health Organization. This year's theme is focusing on looking after our health and our planet, in particular looking after the climate, the air we breathe and the water we drink.
As we're one of the UK's leading water companies, we wanted to talk about the importance of water. Staying hydrated is integral to a healthy life, in fact, at least 9% of the global disease burden and 6% of global deaths are potentially preventable with proper water, sanitation, and hygiene. This is why it is important to protect our water sources, especially as already over 2 billion people lack safe drinking water across the world.
The importance of water in keeping your body functioning properly
Without water, we begin to become dehydrated. As a general rule of thumb, we'll only live for 3 days without any water at all, depending on a person's health and diet. Did you know that by the time you begin to feel thirst, you're already experiencing dehydration? No need to panic! Get some water in you, increase your water intake, and try to be more proactive with your daily hydration.
Early symptoms of dehydration:
- Dry Mouth
- Weight Gain
- Dull Skin
- Sluggish bowel function
It's important that if you're experiencing symptoms of mild dehydration, you increase your fluid intake to ensure the problem doesn't get worse and you begin to experience serious symptoms such as kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
Is tap water safe to drink in the UK?
When talking about drinking water for your health, you may be wondering, is all tap water safe to drink in the UK? The answer is yes, British water is among the best in the world. That doesn't mean that all British tap water tastes good, however. London in particular has water that notoriously tastes 'bad', though that is subjective. London actually has hard water, which isn't inherently a bad thing, it just contains more minerals as it is groundwater that passes through limestone etc.
In fact, over 60% of the UK has hard water. A common complaint with tap water in the UK is the taste of chlorine, which can occur when you're located close to a water treatment plant. Again, none of this is necessarily bad for your health. However, if the taste bothers you, you can always get something like water softeners, or a water cooler.
Access to safe water
Not only do 2 billion people globally not have access to safe drinking water, but 4.2 billion also don't have access to safely managed sanitation services whilst 3 billion lack handwashing facilities either, therefore dehydration isn't our only concern. Access to clean water is imperative in containing and minimising the spread of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.
The lack of suitable sanitary water exposes people to unnecessary health risks, particularly in health care facilities.
Spread the word this World Health Day and raise awareness of Our Health and Our Planet.