View Full Version : Bad water

03-22-2004, 14:49
JUst a message to all the AT hikers out there. Watch out for springs beetween Erwin and Hampton Tenessee. I am currently on a thru-hike and I am really sick. The doctor seems to think its giardia. 3 other guys I know got it too. We beleive it's from a bad water source. Yes I was filtering so be careful.

03-22-2004, 15:25
Hey LA i've been enjoying your journal so far. Enjoy every minute out there. There is a definite chance you have contracted giardia, especially if you're not treating your water. However that section (erwin to damascus) is notorious for stomach and health plagues among hikers. I'm not really sure why but it seems a slue (sp?) of people seem to get drop dead sick there usually having to do with stomach issues and fatigue. Almost everyone on the trail I was with last year got the runs or pukes thru there. Pretty weird.

Blue Jay
03-22-2004, 15:56
It happens every year, I don't believe it's the water because I have seen extremely "clean" (filter, hand wash, no human to human contact, etc.) hikers get it. My theory is that not only are your muscles, tendons and ligaments adjusting to trail conditions but so is your stomach. The "good" bacteria in some people get weak due to stress or food changes or acidity or something. In addition to filtering water I take probiotics which feed the good bacteria and keep them healthy. I don't remember how to spell them but, acidophilos from yogert is one of them. You get them a health food stores. Cheap insurance that works for me, although I might be now immune due to a bad case of Giardia off the trail years ago.

03-22-2004, 21:35
did any of those people that got sick treat with aqua mira or iodine pills?

03-23-2004, 17:23
Everyone that got sick used a method of purifying the water. People said maybe someone got it and gave it to all the other guys but that can't be the case because Stanimal ,who I had never seen before, was sick the day he got in at Kincora's hostel where I was sick.

03-23-2004, 20:00
I hiked the section Hot Springs to Erwin last spring, mid May. I got water from many free flowing springs and streams that had no human habitation up stream. I did not get water at that nasty water hole on top of a mountain near Jerry's Cabin. (can't remember specifics.)

I did not use chemicals or filter.

No illness.

I did use Purell on my hands several times a day and did not shake hands with hikers I met.

I think it is much more likely to get ill from each other than from the water there.


steve hiker
03-23-2004, 22:10
I think it is much more likely to get ill from each other than from the water there.
Or drinkin from stills someof them radiator coils :eek: aint been changed in decades.

03-24-2004, 17:39
There are several streams and water crossings that are marked as contaminated in Wingfoot's 2003 guide, on the stretch between Applehouse Shelter and Moreland Gap Shelter. This is just before Kincorra, and likely to be the area where people are getting water-borne illnesses.

The "Erwin flu" from last year started just after Erwin, and was caused by a stomach flu strain that was going around in Erwin. Anywhere from 30-40% of the city of Erwin contracted this strain, and it even made local news.

I would boil my water and treat it with water drops in this area, and keep shelter usage down to a minimum, just in case the illness is human to human.