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Travel Outside the U.S.: At Your Destination

Drinking Water Precautions To Take In Less Than Fully Developed Countries

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In less than fully developed countries, consider the following tips:

  • Avoid ingesting water in ice and in drinks.
  • Do not use alcoholic drinks to kill organisms in tap water. It doesn't work.
  • Only drink from bottles or cans. 
    • If you stick with a familiar brand name of bottled water, you will be less likely to be drinking rebottled tap water. 
    • Water on the outside of containers may be contaminated; therefore wipe them dry before opening. 
    • Wipe the top clean before you drink or pour.
  • Carbonated bottled water is safe but non-carbonated bottled water is safe only if the original seal is unbroken and even then there is no guarantee of safety.
  • Avoid any accidental ingestion of tap water.
    • Use bottled water to brush teeth.
    • Make sure no water enters your mouth while showering.
    • Use only distilled water to soak contact lenses or dentures.
  • If local water must be used:
    • Bring it to a rolling boil for at least one minute (3 minutes above an altitude of 6,562 feet). 
    • There are some portable water filters available which increase the safety of water. To select a proper filter read the CDC brochure entitled "You Can Prevent Cryptosporidiosis: A Guide For People With HIV Infection" from the CDC National Prevention Information Network, P. O. Box 6003, Rockville, MD 20849-6003 or call 800-458-5231 or 301-562-1098 or online at offsite link.
  • As a last resort, if you must use tap water, use tap water that is uncomfortably hot to the touch. It may be safer than cold tap water. Disinfection, boiling or filtering is still advised!

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