Balancing Western Medicine and Alternative Methods

4 Ways People Accidently Ingest Contaminated Tap Water While Holidaying Abroad

If you're travelling abroad, particularly in developing nations, you might be told to avoid drinking the tap water in order to prevent ingesting any contaminants that will make you sick. Unfortunately, doing this isn't always as easy as not drinking straight from the tap or ordering bottled water at restaurants. Here are four ways that contaminated water can sneak into your system.

1. Showering or Brushing

If the local tap water isn't to be trusted, you're unlikely to drink straight from the tap in your hotel room. However, you also need to be careful that contaminated water doesn't get into your mouth in other ways, so be careful when you're in the bathroom. Water from the shower will be the same as the stuff that comes from the sink, so make sure you keep your mouth closed while washing yourself. Additionally, don't rinse your toothbrush using water from the taps; instead buy a bottle of water, pour some into a glass, and use that.

2. Recycled Bottles  

In developing nations, people selling bottles of water will often 'recycle' the bottles. Essentially, this means that they take bottles that have been used, fill them with tap water, and sell them on again as if they were new. This is why you need to be careful with bottled water. Before you buy, make sure the cap is sealed, and don't accept bottled water from a restaurant if it comes to the table with the cap already off.

3. Ice

Coffee and tea are great when you're holidaying since contaminants rarely survive contact with boiling water. Unfortunately, ice will not kill off bacteria in the same way. A few ice cubes in your drink might sound refreshing, but the water they are made from will usually be from the tap. If you really want ice, try freezing it yourself from either bottled water or boiled tap water.

4. Foods that Contain Water

People sometimes let their guard down when it comes to food, but you need to keep in mind that these can carry water as well. Salads, for example, will often have been washed with water straight from the tap, so these should be avoided. It's also wise to avoid any fruits that contain a high percentage of water, such as watermelons.

Sometimes even the most careful of travellers will get sick from accidentally drinking foreign water, but taking heed of the advice provided above can significantly lower the chances of this happening to you. Remember, it's always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to water overseas.

For more info, contact a health professional.