Staying hydrated while traveling is important to your overall health, energy level and digestive efficiency. But it can be challenging if you are continually on the move. Grabbing a bottle from a street vendor can be tempting on a hot day of touring. But contaminated drinks can lead to traveler’s diarrhea and other problems, especially in developing countries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes an excellent overview of safe food and water habits to adopt. These highlights from their recommendations can help you stay safe, stay hydrated and enjoy your travels.
Tips for avoiding beverage-borne illness
- In most developing countries, it’s best to avoid drinking tap water altogether. This applies to using tap water for brushing your teeth, too. Use bottled water instead, and keep your mouth shut in the shower.
- The same is true for ice. Before you order a drink “on the rocks,” remember that those rocks were made with tap water.
- Avoid fountain drinks like carbonated sodas and juices. Again, these most likely have been mixed with tap water.
- Coffee and tea served steaming hot are usually safe wherever you are in the world.
- Avoid purchasing beverages from street vendors. It’s not uncommon in many countries for vendors to sell water that is not factory-sealed, but appears to be so.
- Bottled carbonated beverages are generally safer because you can see the bubbles, an indication of a factory seal.
- When drinking from a can, be sure to wipe off the lip before putting it to your mouth.
If you do get sick and need medical attention, call the 24-hour Emergency Response Center at the number on your SafeTrip Travel Protection card for help in finding care.
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