Hygiene fact sheet

Recommendations for water use

Because of the current water situation in Asheville, our community is being asked to not use water because of health risks and to conserve what limited water we have.

The Buncombe County Health Center makes the following recommendations to accomplish these goals.

Health Risks

1. Bottled water is the safest source of water for drinking, washing food, brushing teeth and even bathing.

2. If bottled water is not available, then boiled water may also be used. Water should be boiled at a rolling boil for 3 – 5 minutes.

3. If boiling is not possible due to power failures, you can make water safer by adding 6 – 8 drops of unscented, household bleach (chlorine) to 1 gallon of water. Shake or stir and then let it sit for 30 minutes prior to use. This method does not kill all parasites and should be used as a last resort.

Caution: Boiling water concentrates any levels of nitrates that may be present in the water. Young infants and pregnant women should use bottled or stored water instead of boiled tap water whenever possible for drinking and cooking. If you do not have bottled water available for pregnant women and infants, it is better for them to drink boiled water than to drink water that is not boiled and may be contaminated. It is important not to become dehydrated.

4. As a last resort for hand-washing, use use tap water and soap to wash hands, rubbing briskly. Follow with a hand sanitizer.

5. Bathing poses a risk if contaminated water is ingested. Sponge bathing may reduce your risk of ingesting water and getting sick. Use caution when bathing small children and infants to avoid getting water in their mouths. For bathing the facial area, use bottled or boiled and cooled water.

Water conservation measures

1. If you have water, use as little as possible.

2. Take sponge baths using bottled or boiled water.

3. Save any leftover water for flushing toilets or other similar uses.

4. Make every toilet flush count. Limit flushing by multiple uses.

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