Approximately 1 in 4 people who travel for over a week will become ill (some studies show even higher), this is due to exposure to contaminated water. Over 10 million documented people contracted some form of Dysentery in 2008 while travelling. This group can be further broken down to; 1 in 7.3 people lose at least 1 day of their hoAqulidays, and 1 in 2117 are hospitalized. These statistics are the reason that water quality to be addressed with an easy manageable solution for travelling.
What is actually Dysentery? We are speaking in the context of getting a bad case of diarrhea and/or vomiting directly related drinking contaminated water. Dysentery impacts the body’s digestive systems with symptoms of severe diarrhea. The diarrhea could contain mucus and blood in the feces. Dysentery can be fatal. Dysentery can have long term impacts on the human body.
To help make an informed decision regarding the best solution for addressing poor water quality, the points below need to be considered;
Bottled water is not necessarily bacteria free; it just means that you have paid premium for it.
What makes these issues so complex is that the detection of these water borne bacteria and cysts is very costly and difficult. They are normally found when you are actually doing sophisticated laboratory testing.
There are a number of simple precautions that can be taken to significantly reduce the risk of becoming ill from contaminated water while you are travelling. The following provides some of the ways to avoid Dysentery and Gastroenteritis.
In most countries of the world, including developed nations water quality is questionable at best. When living in a country you have adapted to the water condition in most circumstances though the introduction of a different strand of bacteria or cyst will cause major outbreaks. Not with standing, there are significant number of Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Gastroenteritis outbreaks in third world and developed countries. The later is the most prevalent.
For visitors to most developed countries, it is very frequent, one in five people, who are adversely effected by water contamination. For visitors to third world countries it is significantly higher with some statistics stating; one in two people are affected.
In the US, in 2009, some 46% of tested water supplies exceeded America’s water governing limits on safe water in regards to the levels of Giardia, Cryptosporidium or Gastroenteritis related bacteria. In France, the statistic is 37%, Nigeria 67%, South Africa 58%, and so it goes on. Many of these countries do filtrate and purify water for the consumption though there have been many cases around the world that these systems have failed.
Be very careful of drinking tap water, as your chances of getting sick are very high. It is suggested that you either boil your water before you drink it or use a water filter that remove bacteria to at least 1 micron. The SureAqua series of products remove 99.9999% of bacteria, using membrane technology to filter to 0.2 microns. This is free of chemicals and safe for all to use.
Just because it’s in a bottle doesn’t mean it is free of bacteria and viruses. All it means is that you have paid for the water and purchased another plastic bottle.
In many countries around the world, there is little to no regulatory standards regarding the quality water being bottled. In the US, for example, it is legal (FDA approved) to sell tap water.
In third world countries, the bottled water industry is very unscrupulous and uses many unethical and immoral practices to sell water. This includes recycling water, using un-cleaned water bottles and filling it with plain tap water and re-sealing the caps.
There are many brands supply spring water, mountain fresh water, glacial water etc. It must be remembered that spring water etc has very often, high levels of chemicals, Giardia, Cryptosporidium and/or Gastroenteritis causing bacteria that can potentially affect you. Picture this, a company taking water from a stream in the mountains, upstream there is a farm, national reserve, national park where there may be dead wildlife in the water. With extremely high percentages of animal have the Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts or Gastroenteritis causing bacteria, there is good chance of the collected water have some kind of bad bacteria that may affect you. There are a number of reputable water manufacturers that filter and or purify the water to remove bacteria, how is it filtered and is it filtered effectively?
Even saying that, bottle water is usually stored for many months before us consumers actually drink the water. In that time, the temperature of the water has often reached quite high temperatures that aid the growth of bacteria.
Are you willing to take the risk?
Most fruit is our society has been sprayed with insecticide, washed with water to remove it. The source of the water in many instances may not have been filtered or purified. Bacteria can grow on the surface of fruit.
Even though, the fruit may be dry when you receive it, it would be best if you peel the fruit before eating it. This is all fruit.
When you go out to restaurant avoid ordering uncooked side salads. The salads are normally just washed under tap water. Even if they said they say, they wash their salads in bottled water, see what we say about bottled water in this article.
Play it safe by only eating cooked food.
Should you be have serious cravings for salads, purchase your own vegetables, then you are in control of cleaning them correctly.
Having a good personal hygiene is paramount when travelling. The risk of getting dysentery is extremely high, not because of what you may do or not do, but can be impacted by another person. It is very common once one person in a travelling group many people in the group will also fall ill because of not taking precautions.
Some tips include
· Avoid placing your hands in your mouth
· Avoid place objects in your mouth
· Wash your hands thoroughly including between your fingers, back of hands and your wrists.
· When using public toilets, thoroughly wash your hands after going to the toilet.
· When you leave the bathroom, use some paper towel to open and close the door, as the previous person may not have washed their hands.
· Always wash your hands thoroughly before meals
· Cutlery should be wiped with some disinfection wipes.
Many of the top end hotels have integrated water filtration and purification plant into their water supply. This is very expensive exercise and needs constant monitoring to ensure constant supply of filtered/purified water,
It is difficult to clean your teeth without getting in contact directly with the tap water. Probably the most the most feasible way is to used pre-boiled water. Coming soon is the SureAquaTap connection, which will, as the name suggests, connect directly to the tap and filter for immediate use.
Did you know that bacteria can survive being frozen? Ice in drinks can easily carry bacteria that can cause you illness and let you lose valuable holiday time. Water borne bacteria and cysts can survive water temperatures from minus 40⁰ degrees to plus 60⁰ degrees Celsius.
It only takes a drop of contaminated water to get sick. One of the places where you can get sick is from the shower, with water accidently going into your mouth. Since the water in showers is normally hot, bacteria might be less likely to survive. The risk is relatively low compared to other ways of catching illness through the water.
The US Army has published a paper, indicating that standard iodine or chlorine tablets are ineffective against Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts. They state that the levels of chlorine or iodine need to be a level that its makes the water undrinkable. Secondly, there is a large school of thought, even should the iodine or chlorine can kill the bacteria etc the amount of time the water has in contact with these chemicals is insufficient to do anything at all.
Furthermore, use of chemicals can be detrimental for people with thyroid conditions, young children’s growth and pregnant women.
Beer and soft drink are predominantly water based with added ingredients. In many manufacturing processes, the water is not specially treated to remove undesirable bacteria or cysts. In countries where the water quality is recognized as poor, this issue this is directly passed into the soft drink or beer.
Only drink well known soft drinks and beer from countries where you know the water has been treated adequately.
Hope this helps you understand and gives some ideas about how to avoid getting sick from contaminated water.
For input into this article please feel free to send comments to enquiry@AquaSafeStraw.com