Heading to the 2014 World Cup? Nine things you can do to stay healthy in Brazil.


Brad Davis of the U.S. team, left, heads the ball out of his team's net area during the first half of a match between the U.S. and Turkey at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on June 1. (Jason Szenes/EPA)

The FIFA World Cup tournament will draw hundreds of thousands of fans to 12 cities in Brazil from June 12 to July 13. Here are some things travelers can do to improve their odds of staying healthy during a trip to the South American country, culled from a variety of public health sources.

• Be sure your vaccinations are up to date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that routine vaccines, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, chickenpox, polio and flu are current. It also recommends asking your doctor about vaccines for hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, yellow fever, and rabies.

The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers notes that Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba and Manaus are  "within the yellow fever endemic area." It says host sites in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Fortaleza, Recife, Salvador, Porto Alegre, Natal and Curitiba do not pose a risk of yellow fever.

• Malaria, spread by night-biting mosquitoes, is a risk in Brazil's Amazon region, including the city of Manaus, one of the host sites, according to Britain's public health agency. Some forms may be multi-drug resistant. Authorities recommend consulting your doctor about whether to carry anti-malarial medication. They also stress strictly following anti-mosquito practices, such as using repellents that contain DEET, wearing light, loose-fitting clothing and checking door and window screens at hotels. Fending off mosquitoes also will help prevent Dengue fever, caused by a virus transmitted by the insect.

• Avoid swimming in fresh water, such as lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, if possible. Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection spread by snails in these bodies of water, is prevalent in most of Brazil.

• Wash hands frequently and avoid contact with people who are sick as much as possible.

• Stay hydrated, and follow other common sense practices for hot climates.

• Drink boiled or bottled water, beware ice in drinks and be wary of roadside food vendors.  Eat well-cooked foods while they're hot and eat fruits and vegetables that you peel yourself.

• Bring a small travelers' first aid kit.

• Wear seat belts.

Practice safe sex. Carry condoms purchased in the United States to ensure quality, the CDC recommends. Limit alcohol consumption and don't use recreational drugs, both of which encourage risky behavior.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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