Stay Healthy On The Road To Rio 2016

Woman holding the Brazilian flag

The 2016 summer Olympics and Paralympic games will take place in Rio, Brazil from August 5th through to September 18th.

If you plan on visiting Brazil for the summer Olympics this year, it is important to take note of the following recommendations in order to stay healthy. Brazil is currently experiencing an outbreak of the Zika virus, and in some areas contains a high risk of malaria. Therefore it is highly important to take precautions against biting insects.

The best way to avoid mosquito and other biting insects are by using insect repellent sprays on exposed areas of skin. You should also wear long sleeve shirts and trousers wherever possible to reduce the amount of exposed skin that can be bitten. Repellents can also be applied onto items of clothing, the use of products containing DEET will provide extra protection, ideal for when entering high-risk areas. Even though Rio is considered ‘low to no risk’ for malaria, it is always best to reduce the risk of being bitten by a mosquito carrying malaria.

Mosquito nets are also an idea to keep you protected during the evening, especially nets that are treated with Permethrin or Deltamethrin, these insecticides eliminate mosquitoes and other bugs instantly on contact. Staying in air-conditioned rooms and rooms with door & window screens will also reduce the risk of being bitten during the mornings and in the evenings.

Most of the venues for the Olympic events are located within Rio, however, Olympic football matches will take place in stadiums in other regions: Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Salvador, Belo Horizonte and Manaus. The Amazônia Arena within Manaus contains a high risk of malaria so precautions should be taken against biting mosquitoes, for example, ensure you use insect repellent with DEET and also take anti-malaria tablets before, during and after you leave the risk area.

Before you travel you should contact your doctor at least 4 weeks before you depart to ensure you have the vaccinations and medication for the areas you plan on visiting. You should also monitor any health warnings or threats on government websites. Medical treatment and bills can be high within Brazil, therefore it is strongly advised that travellers ensure they have adequate travel insurance before travelling.

While in Brazil you should always stay safe by having an idea of the surrounding areas before you travel, avoid walking at night through unfamiliar areas and have a travel health kit in your room for any emergencies.

Contaminated food and drink is also a risk that can cause illness, such as travellers diarrhoea. It is best to avoid tap water, ice in drinks and also drinks that are watered down. If you buy food from street vendors, make sure the food is fresh and cooked at a high temperature. If you buy fruit, make sure it is washed and if possible purchase fruit that can be peeled.

The following infographic from the CDC contains useful information for your trip to Rio:

 

Rio Olympics Zika prevention infographic

Infographic source: CDC

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