Today’s question: If I travel overseas, is the tap water safe to drink?
Plain Talk answer: Besides the United States and Canada, the water generally is safe to drink in many industrialized countries. Many developing countries, however, have inadequate sanitation and water supply infrastructure, so precautions should be taken when visiting these areas.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a searchable database of information about water quality, sanitation and multiple other health statistics for more than 190 countries available on the Web.
The CDC recommends that international travelers take a number of simple precautions before and during travel to avoid potential health problems:
• Contact their physicians, local health departments or agencies that advise international travelers at least 4 to 6 weeks before departure to schedule an appointment to receive current health information on the countries they plan to visit.
• Obtain vaccinations and prophylactic medications as indicated.
• Address any special needs.
Health Canada also has an active travel advisory site.
For more information on this and many other water-related topics, check out Plain Talk About Drinking Water by Dr. James M. Symons.