|Is eating glacial ice bad for you? I was told that if you eat ice from a glacier it will make you very sick as it has micro organisms in it. Is this true? Thank You
|Question Date: 2008-12-27|
Well, there are micro-organisms, that is, microbes that can live in ice. I dont know which ones and I dont know if they are pathogenic. Basically, you should always boil water and or use purification tablets when you use stream water or ice when hiking.It is not worth the risk in general.
I asked my mom about this one -- she's a public health microbiologist -- and she said that glaciers probably don't have a whole lot of microorganisms that can harm you, at least not compared with stream water, which is warmer and can host many more microorganisms (e.g. Giardia) that will make you sick.
If you eat snow or ice that has enough microorganisms to give it a color (e.g. pink), then it will give you diarrhea. Otherwise, snow and ice are generally safe to eat.
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