Don’t Drink the Water

The caution “Don’t drink the water” may have more application to us than we realize. Recently, health officials have recognized a disease known as giardiasis in individuals who drink inadequately treated water. The disease occurs in all climates from the arctic to the tropics. Indeed, Giardia lamblia (commonly known as giardia) has become the most frequently isolated intestinal disease-causing parasite in the United States and in some of the developing countries of the world, where as many as 97 percent of children are infected with this organism.

Although giardia was not associated with human disease until recently, the organism was given its present name in 1915 and has been widely accepted as a cause of human diarrhea since that time. Once infected, most individuals may expect to develop the disease within about nine days. Symptoms include a bloated feeling, cramps, and diarrhea. Although some children fail to show symptoms of the disease after infection, 81 percent of adults do. Little or no immunity is established during the process of infection, and individuals may remain contagious for up to fourteen months after symptoms cease.

All water that does not come from an approved water source must be treated in order to assure freedom from giardia. Therefore, giardiasis has a seasonal peak occurring in the summer and early fall months when people are involved in outdoor recreational activities and tend to drink untreated water from rivers or lakes.

The following procedures may be followed to reduce the risk of infection:

  1. 1.

    Boil untreated drinking water or heat it to at least 70 degrees C (158 degrees Fahrenheit) for ten minutes.

  2. 2.

    Add iodine tablets to drinking water and allow it to sit for at least eight hours before use.

  3. 3.

    Use a water filtering system. (Note: Some but not all filtering systems are effective in removing giardia from water sources.)

  4. 4.

    Infants should be breast-fed when possible to reduce transmission of this organism in areas of the world where infection is difficult to avoid.

Though untreated water is the major transmitter of the organism, giardia can also be transmitted in other ways, such as through hand-mouth contact. As a result, a large number of cases appear in children attending day-care centers. In several studies, it has been shown that as many as 37 percent of children attending day-care centers are infected with this organism. When these children return home, they often infect their families.

To reduce the risk of infection from this type of transmission, it is important to do the following:

  1. 1.

    When caring for an infected child, wash your hands frequently and carefully. This can reduce the transmission of the organism by as much as 50 percent.

  2. 2.

    Use caution when diapering an infected child, and properly dispose of soiled diapers to further reduce the likelihood of transmission.

Diagnosis of giardiasis is relatively straightforward but not always easy. You should see your physician for treatment if you experience symptoms.Donald N. Wright, professor of microbiology, Brigham Young University

Surviving the Terrible Twos

As the busy parent of young children, I have some days when my perspective takes a battering. I wonder how I’ll make it until bedtime, let alone how I will “endure to the end.” Following are some tactics I use to keep my gospel perspective in focus. Next time your eternal perspective begins to dim, try a few of these attitude boosters:

  1. 1.

    Treasure each new day’s opportunities. At the same time, realize the temporary nature of most minor problems. A two-year-old will not always be that age. In six months, he’ll be talking more clearly, becoming more independent, and learning to be more cooperative. Earth life is actually very short when compared to eternity.

  2. 2.

    Remember that relationships are important—more important than dirty dishes, piles of laundry, a poor report card, or a messy room. Sometimes we need to choose relationships over housework.

  3. 3.

    Establish priorities. If you had only a short time left on earth, how would your priorities change? Set priorities and then match actions to priorities.

  4. 4.

    Contemplate your blessings. Really ponder and come up with a list as long as you are tall. Be specific. Refer to the list often and show gratitude daily in your prayers and by your deeds.

  5. 5.

    Develop a good sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself, especially at your mistakes. Smile at human weaknesses. Grin at unexpected happenings. A good sense of humor is critical in maintaining a good attitude.

  6. 6.

    Take care of yourself and take the time to do something you enjoy. Everyone will benefit because you will be happier.

  7. 7.

    Imagine that the Lord is standing beside you. Your attitude and actions will improve.

  8. 8.

    Finally, ponder the value of each human life to our Father in Heaven. He has infinite love for each of us and knows our tremendous potential.Janet L. Brodie, Kendall Park, New Jersey

How to Keep a Military Family Close

Family togetherness is a great challenge for military families who periodically face separation. In 1973, after three years of active duty, I received orders to go to Guam without my family. How could I leave my wife and two sons, only two and one-half years old and four months old? How could I satisfy my family responsibilities with ten thousand miles separating us?

When I arrived at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, I soon realized that there were thousands of others who were separated from their wives and children. Many had found excellent ways to keep in touch with their families living half a world away. Following are some of the ideas they shared with me:

  • Write letters daily to those who require it and less often to others. A short note written to someone every day can help keep your mind on others and off yourself. Help your children feel special by sending them personally addressed letters in separate envelopes. Remember birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays with a card or letter.

  • Send gifts occasionally. It shows family members that you are thinking of them and it gives them something tangible from you. Gifts need not be expensive but should be fun and unpredictable.

  • Exchange audiocassette tapes. It is faster than writing and less expensive than a phone call. Tapes bring the sounds of home to you and the sound of you to your home. You can include bedtime stories, segments of personal history, or advice for a troubled family member.

  • Make phone calls on special occasions. Carefully planned and controlled to reduce expense, phone calls can allow you to say “I love you” in a personal manner.

  • Exchange photographs with loved ones back home so you can see changes in your children, such as new hairstyles or braces on their teeth. Photos of you help folks back home understand your new surroundings.

In addition, both husband and wife, if they are to weather the storm of imposed separation, must honor commitments made early in their relationship. They must maintain the same standards as if they were still together.

Keeping spiritually attuned is another essential element to family unity during times of separation. Pray regularly for your family—for their health, protection, and success. Build inner peace by reading the scriptures and attending church.

I was grateful to find other Latter-day Saints at Andersen Air Force Base. In addition to church services, we met on Monday evening for family home evening. We studied various gospel themes, and our group became a mutual support group. As I watched how some of these Latter-day Saint military families handled family home evening, I realized I could still be very involved with my family. Some of these men had planned family home evenings a year in advance. Topics had been selected from the family home evening manual and assignments had been made in advance. The men now regularly prepared their parts on tape or in writing and sent their messages home for use on Monday evenings. Certainly this kind of involvement solidifies the parent’s role in guiding the family during times of separation.

My wife and I do not relish the thoughts of additional family separations, but we are better equipped to deal with them after our successful experience while I was in Guam. We are grateful for the examples of others, equally committed, who have been successful in keeping their families together while temporarily living apart.Val B. Jones, Provo, Utah

Scripture Banquet

Primary is focusing on the principle of reverence during 1992. Following is a suggestion to encourage reverence in your home.

Our family has a set of homemade scripture cards that remain on our dining room table from day to day along with the candlesticks and flowers. At dinnertime each night, we take a few minutes before prayer to read, discuss, and memorize a passage of scripture. Because our children are young, sometimes it takes a few days for them to understand and memorize a scripture, even though we keep our selections relatively brief. Once everyone has mastered the scripture, we place a reward sticker on the card and go on to the next one.

We have found that what matters more than how long we study as a family is that we study daily. That way we can focus on the Lord and his gospel each day, even if for a short time.Joy M. Simco, Oslo, Norway

[illustrations] Illustrated by Steve Kropp