How Can Standing Water Affect Your Health

water droplet

Standing water is a nuisance. It may be water in your sink or poor drainage in your yard leading to puddles.

But many people tend to overlook how standing water can affect their health. A harmless puddle can become a breeding ground for disease-carrying bacteria and insects. It pays to be informed about what diseases can stem from standing water.

Here are ways you can get infected:


Bacteria like E. coli and salmonella thrive in standing water. Problems may arise if contaminated water seeps into your drinking water source. If your pets or children drink even the smallest amount of bacteria-contaminated water, they can become sick. The following are three common bacteria found in standing water:

  • E. coli – The presence of E. coli in water is a strong indication of recent sewage or animal contamination. This bacteria can cause vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
  • Salmonella – This bacteria is spread through human or animal feces. Drinking water contaminated with Salmonella can lead to salmonellosis. Symptoms of this infection include nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhea.
  • Campylobacter jejuni – The CDC reports that 1.5 million people in the US fall ill from Campylobacter infections each year. Drinking water contaminated with Campylobacter can cause diarrhea, fever and cramps.


Mosquitoes breed in standing freshwater in untended pools, birdbaths, clogged rain gutters and burst pipes. They can carry blood-borne diseases.

The West Nile virus is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the country, followed by malaria, dengue and chikungunya. In 2018, there were 2,647 total cases of the West Nile in the country, responsible for 167 deaths. In the same year, there were 116 cases of the chikungunya. On the other hand, 2,000 people get diagnosed with malaria every year, while 100-200 get struck with dengue.

Check your house for possible sources of standing water. You can reach out to your local drain cleaner to get your drains checked today.


Black mold in the corner of room

Black mold can grow when standing water seeps into your walls, upholstery or carpeting. If not treated soon, black mold can have serious effects on your health.

As black mold develops, it releases spores into the air, which humans can inhale or ingest. Constantly inhaling mold spores can lead to respiratory issues. These could start from simple wheezing and coughing. In more serious cases, black mold can become a primary factor in contracting pneumonia.


Rodents need water to survive. If you have a water leak in your plumbing lines, you are essentially giving rodents the water they need to survive.

Rodents can carry up to 35 diseases that can affect both humans and pets. Viruses can be spread from contact with rodent feces, urine, saliva. Some diseases include:

  • Hantavirus – If not treated immediately, this can develop into Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), a severe respiratory disease that can be fatal. HPS has a mortality rate of 38 percent.
  • Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM) – It’s estimated that 5 percent of house mice in the US carry the Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). If left unnoticed, this could lead to neurologic diseases like meningitis, encephalitis and meningoencephalitis.

Numerous pests and bacteria thrive in areas with standing water. They can trigger serious health problems, so it’s important to address standing water issues at home as soon as possible.

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