Brazil 2014. Some simple health advice.
If you are going to Brazil this month to cheer on the England football team in the FIFA World Cup you might want to take a quick peek at the following information. Unfortunately, travelling in Brazil carries certain health risks and it’s always better to know before you go than be wise after the event. Besides, a few easy precautions could save you lots of bother later.
At the very least you should make sure your travel insurance cover is up to the job. Whilst emergency care in public hospitals is free in Brazil for foreign nationals (according to the Foreign Office) the hospitals are crowded. This means you will have to pay for non emergency treatment. Also, private hospitals will not accept you unless you have insurance or enough cash to pay for any treatment or repatriation. If you were taken seriously ill and had to receive primary care in Brazil then be repatriated the cost of it could run into many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
That’s the warning out of the way. Now it’s time for the health advice!
Going to the beach? Wear flip flops.
In a study led by Harvard University scientists that assessed the illnesses most often contracted during journeys to the Brazil, skin infestations came out top, with infestations of cutaneous larva migrans (CLM) being the most often reported among those. This is a hookworm that can penetrate skin on the feet and body and is present in sand on beaches in Brazil. The major cause of it is cat and dog faeces. Ewww. Just put on the flip flops, lie on a towel and stop worrying…
Out for a nightcap? Cover up.
Dengue fever and malaria are both common in Brazil. Yellow fever is also a risk in some parts of the country and vaccination is recommended for all locations apart from the coastal regions. These diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes and the only real way of avoiding the risk is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. That means wearing long trousers and long sleeved shirts and using plenty of repellent, both in the evening and during the day. Manaus, the location for England’s first game, is one place to be especially vigilant. It’s slap bang in the middle of the Amazon rainforest where malaria is present.
At the game and out and about: keep hydrated.
Brazil is hot and humid. So keep hydrated at all times. That means drinking plenty of fluids. If you can, avoid drinking tap water unless it has been declared safe for consumption, otherwise you might just end up with a touch of Brazil belly. It’s not uncommon! If you can’t find a source of clean tap water, drink bottled water.
Keep covered up in the sun.
The sun is hot, hot, hot in Brazil and UV levels are higher than they are in the UK. That means you will burn more easily. So make sure you pack some decent factor sunscreen and remember that the factor refers to the time your type of skin would burn without it. If you go pink in 10 minutes, a factor 10 should give you about 90 – 100 minutes before you start to burn. The higher the factor, the more protection you’ll have.
Finally, wear something…
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a health risk for tourists that we shouldn’t ignore because they can change your life – and not for the better. Whilst all the advice we’ve got for you seems to be about covering up, just do it, or don’t do it at all.
Know before you go.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has lots of useful advice for UK nationals travelling to Brazil on the ‘Know Before You Go’ website. CLICK HERE FOR MORE.