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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
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Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.

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Old 17 Jan 2012
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Location: Rockhampton, Australia
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Thanks for the two replies above, makes the decision to drink local all the better. As I mentioned, I would prefer to drink reticulated, which usually has undergone some type of filtering, cleaning etc.

I think I will take a steripen anyway, I have no issues with drinking cloudy water if I have to, or boiling it at a crunch.

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Old 7 May 2013
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Well, I have returned from my journey and can now say that western Europe up until at least Latvia was fine.

I am unsure where I copped the bug, but from what I have re-read above, probably St Petersburg, although I only had one glass full at the hostel before I was told to use the filtered tap. I guess one glass may do it?

Anyway, I was fine until after I left here then I basically had the trots for the next few months and I never drank tap water again. I ended up having to take antibiotic and was cleared of that bug somewhere in China.

Of course I still copped a few tummy problems in SEA, but nothing ongoing.

I did use the Steripen a few times along the way, but after the suffering I had, I added to the plastic bottle waste pile
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Old 20 Oct 2013
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Sawyer MINI™ Filter

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Sawyer� Products - Water Filtration, Insect Repellent, Sunscreens and More
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Old 20 Jan 2014
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Location: mostly Salford now
Posts: 95
water filter

I have used a Katadyn mini water filter, for fresh water, and a Katadyn 6 desalinator if its salt water! This was in india and africa (Egypt)

Both work fine The latter is bloody expensive but it is the best!

I have been described as paranoid about making sure water is OK but my small child can get very ill very quickly, so I am careful!
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Old 27 Jan 2014
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I bought a MSR Microworks filter because it filters chemicals and pesticides, soap, urine, petrol, engine oil etc, as well as bacteria, protozoa, and just about everything else accept for water-borne viruses, which are too small for carbon filters.

It is a bit big and bulky but for me, the ability to remove chemicals and stuff like that from water is essential. The Steripens are good if you always have access to fresh, running water that is clear i.e from fast moving mountain streams or taps in garages, hotels, etc.

Other than that, they're not so good - especially because they require batteries and so therefore being electronic, are arguably not as reliable as the simple, hand opeated mechanical pumps such as those from MSR or Katadyn. You must always take water tablets in case of a malfunction or for running out of battery.

On a side note, regarding viruses - I think it is relatively rare to catch them from the water if you are careful. For example, I read that they tend to 'clump' together, normally at the bottom, along with other silt and debris, etc, so making sure you always filter from the surface of your water source will again minimise the risk.

But for third-world water systems I would definitely prefer a steripen or chemical treatment as the main cause of transmission is when basically when tap water gets mixed up with toilet water. While in most third world countries, especially in cities, the water is probably chemically treated at the source, the poor state of the drainage and sewage systems often means by time it reaches you, it could have been contaminated.

If you're going to be staying in motels, or you're backpacking through India, etc, I think UV treatment is a great idea, but for camping I'd say you'd need a decent filter and/or UV/chemical treatment to be absolutely sure.

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