Safe water is an essential commodity to prevent most water and food-borne diseases like diarrhea, typhoid and jaundice. These diseases are 100% preventable. All of them can be lethal if not prevented, diagnosed or treated in time.

Transmission of parasitic infections can also occur with contaminated water. Here are a few tips:

  • Travelers should avoid consuming tap water.
  • Avoid ice made from tap water.
  • Avoid any food rinsed in tap water.
  • Chlorination kills most bacterial and viral pathogens.
  • Chlorination does not kill giardia cysts.
  • Chlorination does not kill amoeba cysts.
  • Chlorination does not kill cryptosporidium.
  • Boiled water is safe.
  • Treated water is safe.
  • Bottled water is safe.
  • Carbonated drinks, wine and drinks made with boiled water are safe.
  • Freezing does not kill the organisms that cause diarrhea. Ice in drinks is not safe unless it has been made from adequately boiled or filtered water.
  • Alcohol does not sterilize water or the ice. Mixed drinks may still be contaminated.
  • Hot tea and coffee are the best alternatives to boiled water.
  • Bottled drinks should be requested without ice and should be drunk from the bottle with a straw rather than with a glass.
  • Boiling water for 3 minutes followed by cooling to room temperature will kill bacterial parasites.
  • Adding two drops of 5% sodium hydrochloride (bleach) to quarter of water (1 liter) will kill most bacteria in 30 minutes.
  • Adding five drops of tincture of iodine to a quarter of water (1 liter) will kill bacteria within 30 minutes.