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August 3, 2016

Serious Health Concerns For 2016 Olympics. How Visitors Can Stay Safe In Rio

Written By: Marissa Mararac

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil is just days away.  People from all around the world are anticipating the opening ceremonies on August 5.

Most people think of Rio as a beautiful destination because of its colorful and lively culture. While that’s true, serious health concerns exist for those who attend.

What’s Going On In Rio?

Rio has their own type of healthcare called the Programa Saúde da Família (Family Health Program, PSF) which was implemented in 1994 and became national strategy in 2006. The program’s goal is to take care of primary health concerns that the country is facing by basing their program on comprehensiveness and coordination of healthcare.

While the program has seen initial success, there are still many health issues facing the country.

The idea of a worldwide event in the country is, honestly, a little unnerving.

Currently, Rio is facing an outbreak of the Zika virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to dengue, yellow fever, and the West Nile virus. here are no symptoms in many cases, but the virus causes the most harm to pregnant women and their babies because due to serious birth defects.

This is why if you are pregnant or might become pregnant in the next months or years,, authorities are saying to not attend the Olympic Games and to watch from home.

While the Zika virus is the biggest general health care conditions Rio is faces, the country is also experiencing a shortage of health care professionals and staffing in all of their hospitals and clinics.

The problem will only get worse as the games get underway.

Nevertheless, the Olympic Games are going to commence and be held from August 5-21 and the Paralympic Games from September 7-18.

If you are going to Rio make sure you have a smart health plan in place.

Related: Small Town Girl, Turned Big World PICU Traveler

If You Go To Rio, Be Careful And Take Care Of Yourself First

There’s a lot more to prepare for than just visiting another country. Take care of yourself and your health first.

Get travel health and medical evacuation insurance

You can never be too cautious when traveling.

It is always good to make sure you have the proper insurance, especially if you are overseas.

Check to make sure your insurance covers any medical expenses that may occur while you are away in a different country. Medical evacuation insurance gets you emergency transportation from a remote area to a high-quality hospital. It may be a good investment even if you are going to Rio to treat others in their medical conditions.

Bring a travel health kit

While you’re abroad it’s always safe to travel with basic medical supplies in case of any big or small emergency.

Bring proper medications, bandages, ointments. We take everyday items for granted, but they can be life-savers -- literally -- when traveling to foreign places. At the very least your kit could help with medical conditions while you are in transport toward emergency care.

Follow food and water safety guidelines

Be extremely cautious about your food and water intake during your travels.

Read up on what is safe to eat in Rio and what isn’t. Be aware of street vendor meals and drinks that may be contaminated. This is a whole other world compared to what most North Americans are used to.

Bring a lot of insect repellent

Right now, Rio is in precaution of the Zika virus which is being transferred from mosquitos in the area. Learn about the disease and take extra precautions to repel insects. You don’t want to have to worry about itchy mosquito bites, let alone an infection.

Although there are many cautionary reasons to stay out of Rio, the Olympics are still going to be taking place. If you plan to be there in person, good for you. Just make sure to take care of your health first so you come back as healthy as when you left.

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