Access to safe drinking water is a major concern for those affected by hurricanes Irma and Harvey. "I worry about the aftermath of a hurricane,” says Dr. Tosh. “If people don't have access to clean water, they may be drinking what's available without boiling or filtering it first, in which case, they are at high risk of getting a diarrheal pathogen from that water."
"If there is any concern about the safety of the water, it should be boiled. Dr. Tosh says, "Ideally, it should be boiled for one minute, allowed to cool, then filtered. This should kill any bacterial or protozoal infections in the water. You have to make sure the water you are drinking is safe. In the aftermath of a natural disaster like a hurricane, people may be tempted to drink any water available assuming it's safe. If you are not sure about your water, boil it, cool it, filter it."
Most healthy people recover from E. coli though some people including young children and older adults are at risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening form of kidney failure.