Considering traveling to Brazil this summer to attend the Summer Olympics? Sounds like an exciting trip, the games are starting in August which believe it, or not will be here in a heartbeat! Preparation is key; see your doctor 6-8 weeks before you go. There are vaccine recommendations for travelers going to Brazil and you need to ensure that your routine immunizations are up to date. For your nurse or physician to determine which vaccines are needed it is important that you bring a complete itinerary with you.
Take into consideration that not all games are planned in Rio. Football matches will be played in 5 other cities; Manaus, Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Salvador and Belo Horizonte. You may also plan on extending your travel to other parts of the country or another country altogether after the games so be sure to advise your travel health practitioner, this could affect your immunization requirements.
Checklist To Do Before You Go
- Purchase travel health insurance
- Check the Foreign Affairs website for updated information on travel health notices, safety, security, terrorism, natural disasters, local laws and customs. https://travel.gc.ca/
- The Public Health Agency of Canada has developed an article for those planning on travel to the Summer Olympics. http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/notices-avis/notices-avis-eng.php?id=153
- Bring the contact information with you for the Canadian embassy in Brazil: http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/brazil-bresil/splash.aspx
- Register with ROCA (Registration of Canadians traveling abroad: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/registration
- Make two copies of all your travel documents: keep a copy with you and leave a copy at home with family in case yours is lost or stolen.
- It is always a good idea to bring bug spray with DEET for travel. https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/insect-bite .Children need special consideration when it comes to choosing bug spray with DEET: http://www.cps.ca/documents/position/preventing-mosquito-and-tick-bites.
Checklist To Do While You Are At Your Destination
Be wise, Sanitize!
Practice good food and water precaution and be sure to wash your hands often: especially after the bathroom, before you eat and many times throughout the day. Bringing your own hand sanitizer is a good idea as facilities to wash your hands may not be available. For further information, visit: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety
- Carry a photocopy of your passport with you but leave the original in the hotel safe.
- Use a money belt for valuables.
- Keep mobile phone charged and stay in touch.
- Motor vehicle accidents are common. Choose safe transportation and wear a seatbelt.
- Never leave drinks unattended in bars and avoid excessive alcohol which increases the risk of assault, high risk sex or injury.
- Be familiar with the area before you go using guide books or online references.
For more information on safety tips during travel, visit: https://travel.gc.ca/
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Bugs bugs bugs….
There are many diseases spread by insects in Brazil. For information on:
For advice on Zika Virus for pregnant women, those planning a pregnancy and their partners, visit: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/ccdr-rmtc/16vol42/dr-rm42-5/ar-01-eng.php?id=zika_virus_16_hcdns#a7.2
Malaria is present in Brazil and medication may be indicated depending on your itinerary. To determine if you are visiting an area where malaria medication is needed, see: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/malaria_catmat-paludisme_ccmtmv-eng.php.
A visit to your local travel clinic will give you specific advice on which medication is recommended after a comprehensive assessment of your health.
The WHO has designated Brazil as a high risk area for rabies. Animal avoidance is essential and know what to do if you are bitten, licked (on broken skin or mucous membrane) or scratched. https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/diseases/rabies. Vaccination may be recommended if you plan on extending your trip to more rural areas for more adventurous activities after the games.
Sexual Health and Travel… some souvenirs you don’t want to bring home…
Bring condoms from home and be sure to practice safe sex to protect yourself from STI’s :https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/diseases/sti. Ensure that condoms are used for all forms of sex including anal and oral. Although it is fun to partake in alcoholic beverages, avoid excessive drinking which can lower inhibitions and increase the risk of making unhealthy choices.
Sharon a Registered Nurse with a Certificate in Travel Health © who lives in Bridgenorth with her family. Counselling travelers is her day job, travelling is her passion!