This months bulletin offers some bite sized advice for travellers to Rio for the Olympics & Paralympics

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This month we look at some useful key bite sized health advice we can provide to our clients or patients visiting Brazil for the 2016 Olympics. Consultation time is often only limited to 15 – 20 minutes and it is important that we use the time effectively to provide specific health advice beyond recommended vaccines and antimalarials.

 Health advice for the Olympics & Paralympics

Insect Bites
It is winter in Brazil during the Olympics and although the risk of insect borne disease lowers during this cooler and dryer season, mosquito bite prevention is still important. Disease risks from mosquitoes include Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika virus. All travellers should cover up with loose clothing where possible and apply an insect repellent such as 50% DEET over the top of sun cream and re apply frequently throughout the day and evening.

Sun exposure
It is important that travellers stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids (bottled water) as dehydration and heat related illness such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common during sports events. Travellers should be advised to keep themselves cool, wear light loose clothing, a hat and use sunscreen to avoid sun burn.

Personal Hygiene
Respiratory and gastrointestinal infections spread very easily in large crowds. Travellers should practice good cough and hand hygiene, using disposable tissues after coughing and sneezing and wash hands thoroughly. Travellers should avoid touching their eyes nose and mouth and use an alcohol hand sanitizer when there is no access to facilities for washing hands with water.

Illness, Injuries and First Aid
Traveller’s diarrhoea (TD) can be reduced by taking care with food and water. Stick with bottled and boiled water only and food that is piping hot. Take caution if buying food, and drinks such as freshly made juices and coconut water from street vendors and consider hygiene conditions as food may not been prepared or stored correctly increasing the risk of TD. Travellers should be prepared to manage a bout of TD by keeping well hydrated and taking a short course of antidiarrhoea medicine such as loperamide. Rehydration sachets can help avoid severe dehydration and should be carried for young children and the elderly. In some circumstances antibiotics may be useful. All travellers should have comprehensive medical insurance and a personal first aid kit to manage minor ailments such as cuts, abrasions, pain and allergies.

Safety and Security
Crime levels in Brazil are high. Advise clients to leave expensive jewellery and watches at home and not to have mobile phones or large cameras on display.  It is best not to carry too much cash and consider a secure money belt that is hidden under clothing. Travellers should be advised to carry a copy of their passport, embassy details and emergency numbers with them at all times. Use authorised airport taxis and shuttle buses only.

Behaviour Abroad 
Drink Alcohol in moderation and do not take drugs. When drunk there are more risks of accidents and risky behaviour including assault, drink driving and engaging in unprotected sex. As well as the risk of Hepatitis B and HIV and other STI’s there is also the risk of Zika virus transmission.

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