Sick after using Steripen?

TradLife406

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I went on an over night trip this weekend and used my new pen to purify about a gallon of water. I'd fill my Nalgene then purify it and fill my bladder.
Now Monday night and right now I'm sicker than can be. Threw up once last night and my bowel movements are 97% liquid... Actually had to call in sick from work for the second time in six years! I doubt it's from the water but i just want to rule that out because I never get sick like this.
It was from spring runoff at about '7000 feet. No livestock around.

Thanks

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Daniel_M

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Yup giardia takes 7-14 days to show sign, something that quick is likely something you ate minus a virus you may have picked up. Here in the great AK, the stomach bug is floating around like a champ. 24-36hrs of explosive vomiting and diarrhea and fever.
 

tipsntails7

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Like said it takes about 10-14 days for it to show up.

If you only chucked once it's not beaver fever, I've had it and you will literally become dehydrated from being on the pot. You will need a bucket while your on it as well.


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TradLife406

TradLife406

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Perfect! Thanks guys! I was gunna say these Pens seam pretty legit. They have too of a reputation to not work when uses right. Glad I can rule that out!

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Daniel_M

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I've float hunted some gnarly ass rivers so full of beavers I had halfheartedly expected to shit myself for months following, but good water purification practice is essential. I personally prefer a filter over ultraviolet, since UV works best after filtering anyways and I wouldnt pack both if the 1 will be effective.
 

Pm1176

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You haven't eaten salad lately, have you? Sounds like a bout of food poisoning...bad salad, chicken, etc.


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5MilesBack

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I'm no expert but I thought sickness from Giardia didn't show up for a couple weeks.

Maybe, but there are literally 100's of viruses and other stuff in the water besides Giardia. A buddy and I both got sick like that too after drinking untreated water. Took exactly 12 hours to kick in for both of us.
 

moxford

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Note that the Steripen does not KILL stuff. The UV rays scramble the DNA in both bacteria and viruses so those organisms cannot reproduce (and, thus, cannot make you sick.)

You *can* cross-contaminate your water ... when you dip the Nalgene in to get water, you have contaminated the rim and the outside. If you're not careful you can "purify" the water inside, then pour out over a dirty rim/dribble down the outside and end up with (slightly) contaminated water in your bladder. It's not usually enough volume to make you actually develop symptoms but depending on your source it would be possible to get enough to make you sick, especially if you have something else already going on with your health or you had some especially potent water. This is true of any system, though, and not just the Steripen ... best course of action is to dump a little purified water onto a rag/shirt/whatever and wipe the rim down, or pre-dump just a little onto the ground before dumping into the bladder.

Or it might just be coincidence.

Do you use liquid hand-sanitizer before eating?

-mox
 

SWOHTR

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It's my understanding that steripens don't sterilize everything. Something about hard-shelled bugs that are immune to UV rays.


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frankrb3

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It's my understanding that steripens don't sterilize everything. Something about hard-shelled bugs that are immune to UV rays.


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Or tadpoles. But in all seriousness I used a steripen as my primary water purification system last summer while working in the beartooth mountains as a fisheries technician. I nuked hundreds of bottles for myself and the three guys I worked with and none of us got sick. I think they definitely work if used properly and you prevent contamination. Hope you start feeling better soon.
 

Dameon

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While running UV mutagenesis experiments in college, I could kill entire petri dishes full of bacteria with 15 seconds of exposure to high UV. Exposure to small amounts of UV will damage DNA while high amounts will destroy DNA and kill the cell. As a result, UV sterilization does work effectively against bacteria, protists, and viruses. In fact, we use large UV lights to sterilize our "clean" areas to avoid contamination in the lab. In the case of larger organisms such as insect larva and tadpoles, the UV will damage DNA and likely only kill surface cells while leaving the organism alive. For stuff like that, I recommend using a towel or shirt to pre-filter the water into your Nalgene before your treat it with your steripen. I personally use my neck gaiter for that. I also use the Human Gear cap cap as an extra precaution.
 

boom

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hope you feel better. i got the Norovirus once and it came on fast. i got myself to the ER pretty quick. i dehydrated really fast.
 
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