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Jody Victor: 4 Tips for Avoiding Water-Borne Illness While Traveling

Whether it’s a hundred miles or a thousand, getting ill while traveling is always a concern. Even a minor cold can make time away from home miserable. Doing things like washing your hands extra, trying to eat well and getting enough rest can help bolster the immune system, water-borne illnesses can be of particular concern in underdeveloped parts of the world.

Some common water-borne illnesses include cholera, Hepatitis A and typhoid. These are some simple tips to help you avoid such illnesses.

Drink bottled water, carbonated water, or canned water. It is also a good practice to ask that it be brought unopened. Drinking unfamiliar water is a very quick way to get sick while traveling. It isn’t a bad idea to use trustworthy water for brushing your teeth, either.

Don’t eat salads. Salads and other raw veggies are more than likely rinsed with water from the local water source. This is another easy way to ingest local water borne pathogens. Stick to boiled or otherwise cooked veggies.

Consider packing an antibiotic. You’ll have to speak to you doctor about this, however, bringing an appropriate antibiotic effective for know water-borne illnesses in the area you are visiting is the best possible safety net in the case of catching something nasty from untreated water.

Use water purification. If you have to drink local water, it simply has to be purified. The best method is a charcoal pump purification system. A sporting goods store can help you choose an effective one. Iodine (not recommended for pregnant women or those with thyroid issues, speak to your doctor) and chlorine tablets are also an option.