Water Contamination: A Word Of Caution for Travelers

Coach Sapna on November 05, 2016

We travel because we can explore interesting parts of the world and come back with experience that would stay in our memories for the rest of our life. But sometimes, these memories are not cherished but abhorred.

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We want to cherish all the good memories we have encountered during our travel. We would never want an unpleasant experience to be penned in our diaries ever. However, there are times when many travelers fall victim to various illnesses like traveler's diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera - mostly water and food-borne diseases cause due to food and water contamination. Travelers’ diarrhea (food poisoning) is one of the most common illnesses contracted abroad, affecting 20-60% of overseas travelers.

Follow these 12 basic guidelines to evade the risk of diseases and be a happy traveler!

1. Avoid tap water

When I say avoid tap water, it includes water from the tap, and beverages with ice. Also, avoid drinking water while brushing your teeth or bathing. In developing countries, there may be many instances where the water may be contaminated by bacteria, parasites, and viruses that cause hepatitis, cholera, and typhoid fever.

Even a small amount of contaminated water can make you fall ill. In most of the places abroad, it is fine to drink water from the tap, if you are a local. However, for travelers, bacteria present in the tap water varies considerably in different parts of the world. Your belly as well as body may not have the immunity to stand against this newly encountered bacteria, and may affect your health adversely.

The best approach here is to buy and drink bottled water only to avoid falling prey to water contaminated diseases; in most cases bottled water has been filtered sufficiently not to cause trouble even for weaker stomachs. 

 

2. Don't forget that ice cubes are typically made from tap water 

This is an easy one to forget. Unless you know that the ice is made with bottled or disinfected water, skip it.

3. Drink safe beverages

  • Boiled water:
    One minute of boiling should adequately disinfect most water, but boiling water for 3 minutes is strongly recommended.
  • Treated water:
    Commercial iodine or chlorine tablets provide substantial protection if used according to directions.
  • Tea and coffee:

Prefer drinking beverages that are made by boiling water, and served steaming hot.

Bottled water or canned beverages:
Make sure you wipe clean and dry the bottles and cans before putting on your mouth because water on the outside of cans and bottles may be contaminated.

4. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables. 

This includes salads and uncooked vegetables; you may be unaware but these may be rinsed with unsafe water. Always consume food that is well-cooked and piping hot, and fruits that are washed well with clean water.  
 

5. AVOID eating:

  • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk and milk products, especially soft cheese
  • Prepared food that has been left unrefrigerated for several hours
  • Street food containing meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and dairy
  • Any food prepared by street vendors.

6. Eat food that is SAFE like:

  • Thoroughly cooked fruits and vegetables
  • Bread, corn flakes, bran flakes and toasts
  • Fruits with a thick covering (citrus fruits, bananas, and melons)
  • Fruits that have been washed in safe water 
  • Thoroughly cooked meat, poultry, eggs, and fish
  • Dairy products from large commercial dairies, such as ultra-pasteurized milk or hard cheese

7. Avoid drinking from unclean or uncovered glasses in hotel rooms.

By now most folks have seen the hotel sanitation exposes where hotel cleaning staff merely wipes out a used glass with a towel, or, even worse, sprays some kind of cleaning agent in a glass, wipes it with a dirty rag and puts it back on the counter. Unfamiliar germs, chemicals, leftover toothpaste; none of these are good for you. 

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Coach Sapna

PGDM from Kirloskar Institute Of Advanced Management Studies | PGDHRM from Symbiosis | Graduation in Microbiology (Hons) from Delhi University Marketing enthusiast by profession, with the love for interacting with consumers to understand their psychology towards any brand/product. Through my articles, I intend to help all those who are looking for inspiration and happiness in life.
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