Imagine you’ve just traveled over 24 hours to a remote destination and when you arrive at your hotel, you realize they don’t have potable water… Here’s what you do.
Hydration is an important part of everyday life and that does not stop when you are traveling. It is particularly important when you are traveling to areas with hot weather.
You may need more water to stay healthy. When traveling to remote areas, you need to be aware of the possible risks of drinking contaminated water. Consuming contaminated water may cause mild intestinal discomfort or other serious illnesses.
You are at a high risk of getting sick in destinations where the hygiene and sanitation levels are below standard. Having a method to purify your water is a great idea so going for filters that remove lead is a great idea. You can find some great filter options that remove lead and other contaminants online. Keep reading to learn tips for getting purified water in remote travel destinations.
- Boiling Water
Boiling your water before drinking it is a good idea. It is one of the best ways to make your water safe. Even though boiling your water for one minute is enough to kill harmful bacteria, there may be changes depending on the air pressure and altitude. Low air pressure results in a lower boiling temperature. You may need to boil your drinking water longer than one minute. If, for example, you are at an altitude of 2000m or higher, you should boil your drinking water for at least three minutes.
After boiling your water, give it some time to cool in a clean place to avoid recontamination.
Even though boiling your drinking water makes it safe, it may not be the most convenient option for travelers.
- Chlorine Tablets
Chlorine tablets are great as they can get rid of most bacteria and viruses. There are different brands but they all function using the same principle. They are popular because of their convenience and ease of use. However, they may have an unpleasant aftertaste if you do not follow the instructions.
You need to remove debris and particles from your water before using chlorine tablets. Consider using a fine-weave or cotton material as a strainer. If you do not like the aftertaste, consider using neutralizing tablets to get a better taste.
- Chemical Treatment
Chemical treatments are available in drops or tablets. They are some of the most preferred water purifiers for travelers. The treatments are typically made from chlorine and chlorine dioxide products.
- Chlorine Dioxide
Chlorine Dioxide is one of the safest and most popular methods of treating water for travelers. It does not leave unpleasant odors or aftertastes. Chlorine Dioxide is available in tablet form. It gets rid of viruses and bacteria, including Cryptosporidium & Giardia.
- Portable UV Water Purifier
If you plan on traveling to a remote destination, consider investing in a portable UV water purifier. The purifiers are light, and they can kill over 99.9% of viruses. Note that the purifiers need batteries. If you are traveling to a destination where batteries may be difficult to find, pack your own. Newer models may be rechargeable through USB cables.
- Solar Still Distillation
Distillation is one of the best ways to purify water, especially if you do not have access to lots of materials. Many travelers use it as a last resort when other water purifying methods are not available. It is not a popular option because it is complicated, time-consuming, and it does not yield a lot of drinkable water.
- Survival Straws
Consider using survival straws to purify your water in remote locations. The straws are a recent invention and many travelers prefer them as they filter at least 99.9% protozoan pathogens and bacteria. They are lightweight, convenient, and affordable. One drinking straw can be used for up to 1,000 liters of water.
- Handheld Filters
Microfilters or handheld water filters are great options for travelers. They filter water, but you may need a form of disinfection to get rid of viruses. Microfilters work by forcing water through a filter medium. Since the viruses are very small, they can pass through the filter. Handheld water filters may not give you sufficient protection when traveling in areas with compromised water sanitation.
- Salt Electrolysis
Salt electrolysis may be a great method of water purification. It uses a handheld product that passes an electrical current through brine. The process creates mixed oxidants and the solution can be used to purify water. Even though salt electrolysis kills many organisms, it may not work for cyclospora.
Things to Consider When traveling
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Water filtration and purification are important things to consider regardless of where you are traveling to. They are not just for backpackers braving rugged terrains. If you are traveling to a new country, you probably know better than to drink tap water. The water may contain microorganisms and your stomach may be unable to handle its chemical makeup. The following are a few important tips to keep in mind:
- You need to find water from natural environments. Freshwater is not safe to drink as it may harbor germs.
- Be careful when eating at the local restaurants. Most of them use tap water during the cooking process. If you have a sensitive stomach, avoid eating at local eateries.
- Bottled water is a lot safer than tap water. If you do not have access to bottled water, consider using a filter or purifier.
- When buying bottled water, check the cap seal. In some countries, vendors may fill old plastic bottles with unfiltered water and seal them back. If you aren’t keen, you may be duped into buying tap water.
Drinking contaminated water is a real threat when traveling. It can cause problems like mild intestinal discomfort, stomach upsets, and diarrhea.
Harmful bacteria present in water may cause Dysentery, Cryptosporidium, and Giardiasis. Symptoms if the illnesses include weight loss, vomiting, nausea, and stomach cramps. In extreme cases, drinking contaminated water may cause cholera, typhoid, or Hepatitis A. Consider getting vaccinations for the diseases before leaving for your trip.
There are plenty of ways to purify your water and make it safe for consumption. They include boiling, chlorine tablets, survival straws, and chlorine dioxide.