is always a concern for travelers, especially when traveling to underdeveloped countries.
The water treatment is most likely inadequate and the tap water may have bacteria, parasites and viruses that could make you ill. Brushing your teeth, consuming ice, or having drinks made with tap water should be avoided in these places. When traveling to countries where this is a concern, factory sealed, unopened carbonated drinks, pasteurized drinks and alcoholic beverages can be considered safe. A good tip is to use straws when drinking from a can or bottle as the outside of the container can be contaminated. Coffee and tea can be considered safe as they are made from boiling water as well as commercially bottled water in an unopened, factory sealed bottle.
Drinks that should be avoided are fountain drinks (can be mixed with tap water), iced tea and coffee and fruit drinks made with tap water. Fresh fruit juices are also not a good plan as you don’t know if the fruit was cleaned properly or if the juicer washed their hands! Tap water should not be used to clean contact lenses. Follow the specific contact lens cleaning and storage guidelines from your eye care professional and the solution manufacturer.
Don’t forget to visit your local travel clinic for recommendations on vaccinations specific to your destination. For a list of travel clinics, go to: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/yf-fj/index-eng.php. You can also go online to get an idea of what is recommended at: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines. For up to date advice on eating, drinking and water treatment methods go to: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/food-water.
Sharon a Registered Nurse with a Certificate in Travel Health © who lives in Bridgenorth with her family. Counseling travelers is her day job, traveling is her passion!