Drinking Water Overseas
Unsafe drinking water is one of the leading sources of health problems when travelling and the ruin of many a holiday. Most travellers have experienced or heard of what is sometimes called Bali Belly, Montezuma’s Revenge or Delhi Belly
The symptoms are usually diarrhoea, nausea, cramps and bloating.
Escherichia coli (E .coli), Salmonella and Cholera are the most common water-borne bacteria and account for around 80% of these cases.
Protozoa such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium can also be responsible for these symptoms and are usually associated with poor hygiene and sanitation.
In more severe cases viruses like hepatitis, rotavirus and polio can also be a concern.
Following some basic rules could help prevent you spending your holiday on the toilet or in the hospital:
- Research your destination to see if the water is safe to drink.
- Ask your hotel if their water is safe to drink.
- When in doubt drink bottled water. Check the seal to make sure it has not been refilled with tap water.
- Brush your teeth with bottled water.
- Temperatures above 60 degrees centigrade will kill most organisms, so boiled water and hot drinks are generally safe.
- Beer, wine and sealed soft drinks are generally safe.
- Freezing water does not kill bacteria. Remember the ice in your drink could be made from contaminated water.
- If you are hiking or visiting remote areas invest in one of the many portable water purification products available.