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HEALTH & WELLNESS

How to use the Bobble

Water woes By Tania MacWilliam Nov. 03, 2011

We're approaching a new flu season and are washing our hands to prevent illness, but are you washing out your water bottle? The average adult’s body weight is up to 60 per cent water and experts recommend that we drink eight glasses of the refreshing liquid each day.

Lifesaver Bottle If you are on a backpacking weekend, take one of these speciality water filtration bottles with you.

To make sure they are meeting their daily requirements, many people take water bottles to work, school and to the gym, and more people are opting for reusable types to save a few bucks and to help the environment.

Drink up The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise how to meet your daily fluid needs.

We are fortunate to have potable water to refill our bottles -- but not washing them out regularly could make you sick. “Bacteria can grow in distilled water,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, a professor with the department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. “Most people don't know that. No matter how crisp or clear the water, bacteria can grow in it.”

Getting the water you need. Most of your water needs are met through the water and beverages you drink.

Bacteria can use carbon from the air, and the plasticizers that make plastic flexible, to survive, Gerba said. Introduce more diverse nutrients and bacteria are in for a feast. When you take a drink, reflux can occur. This is also known as Connor keeps hydrated on the field by drinking two full bottles an hour before a “back-washing.” game.

PHOTO BY TANIA MACWILLIAM

“That's a source of nutrient material from your mouth back into the reservoir bottle,” said Richard Holley, professor and head of the department of Food Science at the University of Manitoba. “That can stick to the walls and serve as a starting material for low numbers of bacteria.” Even small numbers of harmful bacterium can cause gastrointestinal upset, and while it is possible to get very ill by drinking from a dirty water bottle, you may only get a little diarrhea, Holley said.

Hygenic handling While harmful bacteria can be transferred from our mouths, the culprits can also come from our hands. “To some extent you can say, 'Well OK, if only I use my water bottle then at least it's only my bacteria,' except of course if your hands have been touching other people,” said Dr. Allison McGeer, a microbiologist and infectious disease consultant at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital. You wash your hands on a regular basis, but you should also be washing your bottle, McGeer said. “If you don't wash it [bottle], but you wash your hands, then you kind of wasted washing your hands,” she said. Connor Dotson, a 14-year-old soccer player with the Milton Dragons, drinks from a reusable water container because he believes single-use plastic bottles are bad for the environment. There is also a more practical reason for his choice. “Once I go onto the field I normally just leave it [bottle] on the bench,” he said. But if he was using a regular water bottle, “It could easily get mixed up with somebody else's.” Reusable bottles are easier to identify than the generic single-use ones. Connor's bottle makes it less likely his teammates will grab it and take a swig.

“The worst water bottles are the sports bottles.” Water-bottle bacteria may do little more than have you running to the rest-room frequently, but it can also spread the flu, said McGeer. Yet, she warned, there's a potentially more dangerous bacteria that could easily be transmitted via water bottles. You can contract MRSA.

You can get some fluid through the foods you eat. For example, broth soups and other foods that are 85 per cent to 95 per cent water such as celery, tomatoes, oranges, and melons. What water does for you. Water helps your body: Keep its temperature normal. Lubricate and cushion your joints. Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements. Why drink enough water? You need water to replace what your body loses through normal, everyday functions. Of course, you lose water when you go to the bathroom or sweat, and you even lose small amounts of water when you exhale. You need to replace this lost water to prevent dehydration. Your body also needs more water when you are: In hot climates.


contract MRSA.

More physically active.

Methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, a superbug, is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria most known for being picked up in hospitals, but is can also be acquired in the community.

Running a fever.

Choosing the right bottle As people become more germ-conscious they are gravitating toward products promising a fresher drinking experience. The Bobble water bottle, available at trendy American Apparel clothing stores, is designed with a replaceable popup spout with an attached carbon filter. The bottles cost about $15 and are meant for 300 refills, or two months of use. “Carbon filters are actually really good places for bacteria to grow,” said McGeer. While the cartridges remove things that change taste, they don't actually remove bacteria, she said, and since the filters aren't really washable, the bacteria level in the water is likely worse than not using a filter at all. You don't need a fancy water bottle. Reusable water bottles can be reasonably priced and are even available for $1 at discount stores. This is also preferable over refilling onetime use bottles. According to the FAQs about bottled water on Health Canada’s website, single-use bottles shouldn't be reused as there is a risk for bacteria to grow if not cleaned properly. Health Canada suggests wide-necked, reusable bottles as they are easier to wash with hot soapy water between uses. “The worst water bottles are the sports bottles,” said Gerba. “The ones where you push it shut with your finger and you can pop it open again. Those tend to get contaminated more with fecal bacteria if you don't wash your hands completely.” Coliform bacteria, or fecal bacteria, is found more often in those types of bottles than any other reusable bottles, said Gerba. They are also harder to clean. “The more you reuse it the more bacteria you tend to get in them,” he said. “I'd avoid the push down button type if I could.”

Having diarrhea or vomiting. To help you stay hydrated during prolonged physical activity, drink fluids while doing the activity and consume several glasses of water or other fluid after the physical activity is completed. Also, when you are participating in vigorous physical activity, it's important to drink before you even feel thirsty. Thirst is a signal that your body is on the way to dehydration. How to increase your intake. If you think you're not getting enough water each day, the following tips may help: Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands. Freeze some freezersafe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long. Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This can also help with weight management. Substituting water for one 591 ml bottle of sugar-sweetened soft drink will save you about 240 calories. Choose water instead of other beverages when eating out. Generally, you will save money and reduce calories. Give your water a little pizzazz by adding a wedge of lime or lemon. This may improve the taste, and you just might drink more water than you usually do.

The water Bobble comes with a replaceable carbon filter good for 300 refills, or two months of use.

PHOTO BY TANIA MACWILLIAM


Water woes