Taking a trip to see the Olympic Games is an amazing experience that many view as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. While the excitement for this summer’s games is high, those who are visiting Rio de Janeiro to watch or participate in the Olympics will face some unique travel concerns. Brazil is among many destinations in the Americas currently amidst an outbreak of the Zika virus, which poses a particularly high risk for women who are pregnant or wishing to become pregnant. Because of the presence of the Zika virus in Rio and the surrounding areas, Olympic travel has a CDC alert level of 2, which indicates that enhanced precautions should be taken by travelers. Below you can gain a better understanding of the CDC’s travel health advisories along with some tips to help you travel safely, no matter where you are headed.
It is possible to stay safe in risky areas
Any area that has an alert level of 1 or 2 can be visited safely with the right precautions. Before visiting any nation or region with this type of advisory, you should visit a doctor for any necessary vaccinations or other preventive measures. In addition to inoculation against certain diseases, your doctor can also provide practical travel advice to help you stay well throughout your trip. In the case of Warning Level 3 alerts, any non-essential travel to a certain area should be cancelled or postponed. This type of warning will exist for areas struggling with highly contagious and fatal epidemics. Ebola is among the most recent examples of conditions that warranted a non-essential travel warning.
You should know where to turn for emergency healthcare
Whether you are traveling to the Olympics or going on safari, you should know exactly where you will be able to find reliable medical care during your vacation. If an emergency (or even some less serious digestive discomfort) arises, you will want to know where you can find a doctor. Keeping first aid supplies handy is also a good idea, especially if you will be in a more remote area with limited access to medical care.
Vaccines are helpful but not foolproof
There are a number of beneficial vaccines for travelers, but these immunizations should still be accompanied by other precautions, such as wearing protective clothing and practicing frequent handwashing. It is also important to be aware that not all common travel illnesses are preventable through vaccines. Most notably, there is currently no vaccine or treatment available for the Zika virus.
Mosquitos are a top travel safety risk
Zika and many other serious viruses seen in areas with travel health advisories are spread through one common pest: Mosquitos. Therefore, proper mosquito protection can go a long way toward preserving your health when you travel. Mosquito repellant sprays, long-sleeved clothing, and mosquito netting are all essential pieces of equipment that can deter these tiny insects.
If you are headed to Rio for the Summer Olympics or you are planning an exotic vacation far from home, the physicians at MeMD can provide pre-departure checkups along with consultations no matter where your travels take you, ensuring that you always have the care you need when you need it most.