Drinking and Eating Safely

What you should know

Drink and eat safe

Drinking and Eating Safely

Travellers overseas can contract a number of diseases by drinking and eating contaminated water and food. By being vaccinated, using good hygiene and following a few simple rules, you can avoid serious diseases like Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Traveller’s Diarrhoea.

Simple Guidelines For Safe Food and Water

  1. Always wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and before eating.
  2. Assume all water is contaminated, and make it safe (see below for instructions) before drinking or using it. Only drink sealed bottled water (make sure you break the seal yourself), boiled water or treated water with Iodine, canned drinks or hot drinks such as coffee or tea. Brush your teeth only with bottled water. Keep your mouth closed in the shower.
  3. Refuse ice in drinks, as it may have been made from contaminated water.
  4. Avoid salads as these are often washed with contaminated water.
  5. Eat only fruit which you have peeled yourself i.e. avoid apples with skin and grapes as these may be washed in local water or have contaminated skin.
  6. Food should be thoroughly cooked and eaten hot. Avoid foods, which have been precooked and reheated, cold meat, raw seafood and shellfish (such as oysters, crabs, prawns and lobster. Never eat uncooked seafood.) Always choose hot, well cooked local dishes with high turnover that have been freshly prepared and in busy restaurants.
  7. In very undeveloped areas, milk and other dairy products, including ice-cream, should be avoided unless you can be sure they have been pasteurised and stored properly.

How to make Water Safe

  1. Boiling water for at least 1 minute is a method of ensuring that it is safe to drink. If at altitudes over 2000m, water should be boiled for 3 minutes.
  2. Iodine: Add 8 drops of 1% Iodine (Betadine solution) to 1 litre of clear water (if water cold or cloudy, add 20 drops). Leave the water to stand for 30 minutes before drinking. Note: Travellers with thyroid disease, an iodine allergy or who are pregnant should not use iodine. It is not recommended to use iodine for more than 3 months in healthy people.

Reference : Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Yellow Book 2020: Health Information for International Travel. New York: Oxford University Press; 2017.

*For more detailed information, make an appointment at our travel health clinic and our travel health professionals will be more than happy to discuss your personal needs.