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Drinking water

When you’re on your travels, it’s important to make sure the water you put in your body is safe. Even water that looks fine may contain contaminants that can make you ill. If you suspect you may be feeling the effects of contaminated water, it is always best to seek medical advice.

Bottled water

As a general rule of thumb, bottled water is safe to drink. However, you should make sure that the water is properly sealed in a tamper-proof container before you drink it. Ask someone with good local knowledge to recommend the most reliable brands.

You are also generally safe to drink hot drinks like tea and coffee, and other contained drinks like canned soda, juice and alcohol.


Always bear in mind that freezing water won’t kill bacteria, so ice cubes can present the same risk as tap water. Order your drink without ice if you’re not certain the ice is safe. Alternatively, you can make your own ice after boiling the water first.

Other contamination

You don’t necessarily need to drink contaminated water directly to feel its effects. Make sure that the water you use to brush your teeth, to clean your contact lenses, or to wash your dentures, is also free of germs. Avoid eating food that may have been prepared with unclean water, like fresh fruit and salad: in countries where there is a high risk of contaminated water, it is best to stick to cooked or boiled foods.

Remember that long-lasting exposure to heat will kill many bacteria and parasites, so drinking water that has been boiled is better than drinking untreated tap water.

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The content of these pages are for general information only, They do not constitute advice and must not be acted or relied on as being so.