We here at IAMAT love soccer. Strike up a conversation with Nadia, our member services co-ordinator and she’ll tell you all about the ins and outs of the European soccer league. Next June and July, the world will be descending on 12 cities in Brazil to watch the FIFA Soccer World Cup. If you’re one of the few lucky ones to get a ticket or even if you’re planning to travel there soon, here’s what you need to know to plan a healthy trip.
To start, give yourself at least six weeks before you leave to prepare.Make sure that your routine immunizations are up-to-date. Infections like measles spread easily during mass gathering events like sports tournaments. Many adults don’t keep up with their immunizations and an upcoming trip is a good reminder to make sure you’re covered.In terms of travel vaccinations, Hepatitis A and Typhoid Fever are recommended. These two illnesses are caused by improper hand hygiene and food handling. Hepatitis A is a viral infection while Typhoid Fever is caused by bacteria. Ask your healthcare provider what type of vaccine is best for you for protection against these illnesses. Note that while the Typhoid Fever vaccines may not offer 100% protection, being immunized will reduce the severity of the illness.
Yellow Fever vaccination is also recommended for many parts of Brazil, but is not required to enter the country. If you’re going to see a game in Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, or Manaus, these cities are within the Yellow Fever endemic area. The cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Natal, and Curitiba are risk free. Yellow Fever vaccination is also highly recommended if you’re going to Iguaçu Falls.
You’ll also want to look out for Dengue Fever. Risk of this viral illness, transmitted by daytime biting mosquitoes, is present throughout Brazil. There is no vaccination so make sure that you take meticulous anti-mosquito bite measures like applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, wear long light-weight and loose-fitting clothing as much as possible, and ensure that door and window screens are in good working condition.
If you’re planning a trip to the Amazon Basin, consider your risk of Malaria. Many regions in Brazil have multi-drug resistant malaria. See our World Malaria Risk Chart for affected areas and How to Protect Yourself Against Malaria for anti-malaria medication guidelines and other protection measures. There is no malaria risk at Iguaçu Falls.
Planning to swim in fresh water? Many parts of Brazil still have Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection transmitted by snails living in fresh water such as lakes, rivers, streams and ponds. Swimming in the ocean or chlorinated pools is safe.
If you’re planning to get insurance, don’t forget to consult our Guide to Travel Health Insurance, a primer on what to look for when you’re buying insurance.
10 things to keep in mind during your trip
You want to bring back great memories, not ones of being holed up in your hotel room or in a hospital emergency room.
- The fan cheering can get very loud and echo in a stadium. Make sure to bring along a good pair of ear plugs that allow you to hear the game and the voices around you, but protect your hearing.
- Practice good hand hygiene to protect yourself and prevent the spread of illnesses to others. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Use the mantra Boil It, Cook It, Peel It or Forget It! Drink boiled or secured bottled water. Eat well cooked foods while they’re hot and eat fruit and vegetables that you can peel yourself. Be judicious when it comes to street food vendors. Only eat well cooked foods and make sure the vendors practice good food handling practices. Avoid foods that have been out for long periods of time.
- Stay well hydrated and use sun protection measures like wearing a hat, UV-ray protecting sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Avoid animal and insect bites. Use meticulous anti-mosquito measures during the day and at night to protect against Dengue Fever and Malaria. Take along a repellent containing DEET, wear light-weight long sleeves and pants, and use a mosquito bed net if you’re going to malaria areas in Brazil.
- Know your alcohol intake limit and avoid using illicit drugs – the penalties in Brazil can be very harsh.
- Always practice safe sex to protect yourself and partners against sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs and STDs).
- Wear seat belts in vehicles and a helmet when riding a moped, motorcycle, or bicycle. Traffic-related accidents are very common in Brazil.
- Pack a travel medicine kit.
- Get lots of sleep to stay healthy and enjoy the festivities!
Need medical help?
If you need medical attention, contact an IAMAT English-speaking doctor in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, and Buzios. Our doctors are committed to helping travellers and charge a set fee to IAMAT members.
When you’re back…
If you have persistent diarrhea, fever or flu-like symptoms, make sure to visit your healthcare provider. Post-trip follow-up is usually overlooked by many travellers, but it could prevent future health complications and even save your life.