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What Are Your Tips and Tricks for "Don't Drink The Water" Countries?

What Are Your Tips and Tricks for "Don't Drink The Water" Countries?

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Old Jul 29, 18, 5:40 am
  #46  
 
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Originally Posted by Badenoch View Post
Not overdoing it is good advice. Be wary about advice from Americans. Their CDC is very conservative when it comes to water safety and other potential travel risks.

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety

Asking locals carries some risks though. When asked people in northern Namibia seemed mildly offended and bluntly informed me their water came from underground bore holes and was quite safe. I've drank tap water there ever since with no ill effects.
The CDC is a killjoy - but that's going to be true of many/most governmental public health entities, particularly from "first world" countries. Canada's comparable site is broadly similar in its cautions, in fact more risk-averse in some aspects. For example Canada advises just to "avoid food from street vendors" while the CDC page recommends caution but gives tips on what to look for if choosing street food. Canada makes a blanket statement to only brush your teeth with purified or bottled water, not differentiating between locations with risky water sources...so following their advice at face value would lead one to brush only with bottled water even in London, Tokyo, or Zurich! The CDC at least directs its similar caution about teeth brushing to developing countries or "some areas". But then the CDC recommends wiping the top of a can of soda before drinking, which is overkill. Best to get specific data and advice about the particular destinations you're visiting and not rely only on broad generalizations from public health entities.

https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/heal...ety/food-water
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Old Jul 30, 18, 10:08 am
  #47  
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I recently stayed in Thailand, and the room was equipped with a water boiler. Similar to a coffee maker, you put water in, boil it, and you can let it cool, then drink from it. When I go such places, I make sure I have that or a kitchen. Last trip to Brazil I had a kitchen and just boiled water in the kettle. Didn't have a problem.
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Old Jul 30, 18, 10:08 am
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Originally Posted by gbs1112 View Post
Water from the hot tap is a useful tip for cleaning teeth if you ‘think’ the tap water is probably safe but are not quite certain.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! In many parts of the world the hot tap piping is still lead, not just in weird and wonderful places, but many homes in the UK still have lead piping for their hot water systems. Plus hot water tanks are very rarely cleaned. In some places, the water for the hot water may be stored (in the roof / attic areas) and those water tanks are not always sealed - dead mice and rats and even bigger creatures get into those tanks. You don't want to be using the hot tap in an unknown location for anything that goes in your mouth!
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Old Jul 31, 18, 3:50 am
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In Thailand, it is fine to use tap water for brushing your teeth. Yet, all water used for food consumption should be bought on bottles. It is very cheap.
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Old Jul 31, 18, 7:44 am
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I agree - Stay away from uncooked veggies and fruit that one can't peel themselves (ie, fresh salads, apples, pears, etc). When traveling outside of North America and Western Europe, I only eat cooked veggies and fruit I can peel (ie, oranges, bananas, etc.).

Also, make sure your immunizations are up to date. Otherwise, you could be asking for trouble while traveling abroad.

Oh, and if choosing bottled water, I normally request carbonated water because it's harder to "fake" (ie, harder to simply take top off, fill from the tap and close with a lid that still has it's seal).

Last edited by Cubillas; Jul 31, 18 at 7:48 am Reason: Forgot one more point
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Old Jul 31, 18, 7:50 am
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Pani puri

Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
I avoid salad and ice cubes in India, but have never had a problem brushing my teeth with tap water. It's really the pani puri that gets you.
https://indianexpress.com/article/tr...tions-5281481/

"VMC officials conducted a surprise check on 50 golgappe sellers in the city after it got reports about a rise in diarrhoea and vomiting cases. The officials destroyed near about 4000kg of pani puri and 3350kg of potato mash and other ingredients for the snack."
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Old Jul 31, 18, 8:07 am
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Originally Posted by Cubillas View Post
...
Oh, and if choosing bottled water, I normally request carbonated water because it's harder to "fake" (ie, harder to simply take top off, fill from the tap and close with a lid that still has it's seal).
Very good point. Thanks for sharing it.
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Old Jul 31, 18, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by catcher1 View Post
I prefer using a toothbrush.
Always a sly comment in the room.
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Old Jul 31, 18, 10:37 am
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In Kenya a few years ago all 3 in our party got sick even though we used bottled water religiously. I concluded maybe it came from washing our hands in tap water and then eating something (sandwich or whatever) with our hands. Next time I would use more hand sanitizer. (I have a friend who travels to Kenya regularly and she and her husband get sick every time no matter what they do.)
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Old Jul 31, 18, 6:29 pm
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tips

When we first started traveling for months at a time to developing areas of China, Thailand, (and other places in Asia) most local restaurants didn't wash dishes with hot water/soap (and we were hours from "western" hotels). You would often see someone standing behind the restaurant with a garden hose or a tub of cold water rinsing off the dishes for re-use. One of our strategies was to order several pots of fresh tea (made with boiling water) and a basin as soon as we sat down. We would then proceed to wash out our dishes with boiling tea. At the end of the exercise, we had empty tea pots, much cleaner dishes, and a basin full of tea with a layer of grease floating on top. I also started carrying disposable chopsticks in my bag (much easier to carry than western cutlery). We also only ate freshly cooked foods (nothing raw - no sashimi, no ceviche, no salads), and only drank boiled water or carbonated water. I also got a little immersion heater I used in local hotel rooms. Only got sick once in 20 years - at a banquet hosted by the government.

Another suggestion - if you are traveling from the US, consider taking some Imodium (loperamide) with you. it is pretty effective for "traveler diarrhea" but is not widely available in many places. I have given hundreds of tablets away over the years...

Last edited by jtjackson; Jul 31, 18 at 6:34 pm Reason: add info
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Old Aug 2, 18, 4:01 am
  #56  
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I've traveled to, and lived in, the developing world for many years, and I have a pretty good strategy that has worked. Overall, I try not to be paranoid about it, and I also try to keep in mind that most hotels and restaurants will go to great lengths to avoid getting visitors sick. (These days, people post reviews or blog about their travel experiences, particularly the bad ones, and a string of bad reviews from tourists could kill a business.) So, most of my rules deal with the kinds of things that are beyond the facility's control, like tap water quality.

Here's my list for higher-risk countries:

1) BOTTLED WATER ONLY - for drinking and brushing teeth - if possible, I try to find the local brand that is owned by Coca Cola or Pepsi or another major company. These days, many reputable brands will put their international purity certifications on the label as well.

2) No lettuce or other veggies that cannot be peeled. It is tough after a few days when you really want to eat a big leafy salad, but it's not worth the pain it could cause. Just want until you get home.

3) No berries or fruits that cannot be peeled. I also avoid fruits with thin, edible skins like apples and pears. Most countries have delicious fruits that have sturdy peels.

4) No street food or market stalls. Always go to restaurants that have international ratings and reviews online, and make sure there are lots of people eating there, so food must be prepared to order. Avoid restaurants that are empty, as food could have been sitting out in the kitchen, exposed to the air, for some time, and perhaps attracting insects. Also avoid restaurants with a strange or bad smell in the air.

5) Hot food should arrive to the table piping hot. If it arrives lukewarm, send it back.

6) When ordering beverages in a restaurant, ask for your water/soda in a sealed bottle. At minimum, make sure the waiter cracks the seal in front of you prior to pouring into a glass. If you can't be sure it was a sealed bottle (i.e. no seal cracking sound when waiter opens the bottle), ask for a new bottle. Some restaurants might try to save money by refilling bottles and hoping customers won't notice.

7) Pepto Bismol is the way to go for GI symptoms. Occasionally, I will chew one proactively on the first day in a new place as my digestive system adjusts. But PB is better than anything else, and it is not an antibiotic so there is no risk of killing probiotics or developing resistant strains.
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Old Aug 3, 18, 2:19 pm
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in uk cold kitchen tap should be safe

Originally Posted by emma69 View Post
Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! In many parts of the world the hot tap piping is still lead, not just in weird and wonderful places, but many homes in the UK still have lead piping for their hot water systems. Plus hot water tanks are very rarely cleaned. In some places, the water for the hot water may be stored (in the roof / attic areas) and those water tanks are not always sealed - dead mice and rats and even bigger creatures get into those tanks. You don't want to be using the hot tap in an unknown location for anything that goes in your mouth!
In UK so far as I understand it any kitchen cold tap must come directly from the mains water supply. this doesn't have to be the case for other cold taps in the house. never use water from a hot tap for anything but washing. Due to the problems mentioned right above. They're all true.
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