Many Aussies will soon be heading to Rio for the 2016 Rio Games to experience the incredible cultures South America has to offer.
So how can you ensure you have a safe trip? South America exposes Australians to health risks that we don’t necessarily face back home, and can leave you with holiday memories you would rather forget.
Travel health specialist Dr Sarah Chu gives her advice on how to prepare ahead of Rio:
Before you go - Prepare your health
Those heading to Rio for the Olympic Games will no doubt be excited about their next big trip – heading overseas usually means a flurry of preparing all those fun activities and sights to see.
Some travellers however can get caught up in all this and forget to also prepare their health. Make sure you book a visit to your GP six to eight weeks before travel.
A doctor can offer protective options against infectious diseases, including some vaccines, or may need a second appointment, so planning ahead matters.
Enjoy the cuisine – safely
Brazil is a country with a vibrant culture and amazing cuisine. However, some travellers can quickly become sick while trying to keep up with the locals.
This leaves Aussies exposed to food and water-borne diseases, particularly in areas of poor sanitation and hygiene standards.
Eating and drinking tips for travellers include:
Eating foods that are cooked and served hot (not reheated!)
Steering clear of uncooked or undercooked food, salads or fruit and vegetables you cannot peel and unpasteurised dairy products (don’t assume milk and cheese are pasteurised)
Only drinking bottled, boiled or chemically disinfected water and avoiding drinks with ice – freezing water into ice preserves rather than kills germs.
If you want to taste the local cuisine, stick to this rule: boil it, cook it, peel it or forget it!
Protect against mozzies
Being on holiday usually means lots of time spent outdoors. Countries such as Brazil expose travellers to mosquitoes that can carry malaria, dengue fever, or yellow fever.
There are a few simple ways travellers can prevent getting bitten:
Use a repellent with DEET or picardin
Wear light coloured, long sleeved clothing, socks and closed shoes
Treat clothing with permethrin or purchase pre-treated clothing – but never directly apply to skin.
Sleep in screened accommodation or under permethrin treated bed nets
Ready yourself for Rio’s best events
We all know that South America’s liveliest fiesta has a reputation - things can get wild! Travellers can often get caught up in the excitement, so keep safety in mind.
Tourists are often targeted by criminals, and petty theft such as pick-pocketing and bag snatching is common in Brazil. Leave things like expensive jewellery and watches at home, and keep cash and credit cards to a minimum.
Don’t forget, when returning from Brazil, Australian customs require travellers to provide a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate on arrival at the airport. Doctors will be able to provide further information on yellow fever vaccine clinics around Australia.
For more information on travelling healthy, please visit: vaccinehub.com.au