Whether you’re on a walk in the park, at the gym or out of the country, it is important to maintain your desire to drink clean, filtered water. North America is generally considered to provide some of the world’s cleanest tap water but as we have seen by the lead scares in Toronto, even the most modern cities have their clean water issues.
This is why smart moms are proactive about purifying their water no matter where they or their kids are. Even if you’ve taken measures to install a Whole House or Under Sink water filter at your home, you still may be in situations where you’ll need to quench your thirst elsewhere. Here are a few tips on how to purify water while you are away from home so you’ll always be healthy.
Many of us consider how important water filtration is when traveling to places like India, Africa or South America and anyone who has ever experienced “Montezuma’s Revenge” while traveling to Mexico knows firsthand how uncomfortable contaminated water illness can be. While the sickness, abdominal cramps, bloating and nausea that is caused by “traveler’s diarrhea” is most commonly referenced when traveling to third world countries, unhealthy water is a common issue in many cities across North America as well.
This is why preparation and awareness of the bacteria and harmful contaminates in water is the best defense for you and your family.
If you are going on a hike, run, trip to the gym or hopping on a plane, here are some considerations for having healthy water around you at all times:
Water Filters: We mentioned above that at-home water filtration is the most common way to safeguard yourself while at home. However, water filtration devices are also available in more portable systems such as those that can be taken with you while hiking or brought to your office. For smaller, more portable water filtration systems that fit in your backpack, visit your local outdoor store and try to find a water filter that meets your needs.
Ultraviolet Lights: These devices deactivate the harmful contaminants that are present in water. The other advantages of UV lights are that they do not affect the taste of the water and are very effective against Cryptosporidium, the most treatment-resistant nuisance among protozoa and bacteria. UV lights for water purification are available in portable devices as well as in more advanced water filtration systems.
Bottled Water: While we recommend bottling your own filtered water in glass containers, bottled water may be your safest option if you are out of the country. There are, however, packaging and water quality concerns associated with bottled water which is why we try to stay away from it as much as possible. Still, if you are out of the country and are in a position to drink tap water versus bottled water, bottled water would be the way to go. Or, use the portable water filter you bought for your backpacking trips and enjoy clean water wherever you are.
Water Purification Tablets: A commonly used method to purify water is with water purification tablets. These tablets – which can also be found at outdoor stores – are a safe chemical treatment for what may be unsafe water. These are often used in camping, hiking or emergency preparedness situations. These tablets will kill bacteria and viruses but do not kill protozoa, an unsafe waterborne disease.
Boiled Water: This method is perhaps the simplest on this list and is generally used during emergency situations or when you are in a country where the water quality is questionable. Boiling water will kill protozoa, viruses and bacteria and about 99 percent of harmful organisms. When taking this approach make sure you boil your water at 65 degrees C (149 degrees F) for five minutes or more. A visual boil (100 degrees C/212 degrees F) is perhaps the most simplistic way to provide evidence of a microbe-vanishing temperature.
Before choosing any water purification system be sure to read the instructions first. You’ll want to be sure that your water purification method eliminates protozoa, bacteria and viruses as these contaminants are potentially present in nearly any natural body of water outside North America. Finally, always avoid collecting water from sources near chemical plants, agricultural facilities, heavy industrial areas, mines or associated bodies of water.