Rio de Janeiro Olympics advice – all you need to know

The Olympic Games an international sporting event held every 4 years created during the 8th Century BC in ancient Greece and has grown to the extent that nearly all nations on planet Earth are now represented. There are in excess of 13,000 athletes competing at the summer and winter games in 33 different sports and Olympic medals of gold, silver and bronze are given to the top three finalists or team in each event.

In 2016 the Olympics are to be staged in Rio de Janeiro from the 5th – 21st August 2016, followed by the Paralympics starting on the 7th September – 18th September.

The opening ceremony is taking place in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and will start at 8pm local time, Rio is four hours behind the UK. During the opening ceremony, each of the competing teams take part in the opening pageant within the stadium, team GB will be the 76th country to emerge into the stadium led by Andy Murray. The Olympic torch is then lit in the centre of the stadium to start the games. The torch will then be moved to the Port of Rio de Janeiro for the duration of the games.

With Rio expecting more than 500,000 visitors for the games. Rio has also had extensive media coverage with the recent health concerns of the Zika virus, if you are travelling this summer it is important to stay vigilant and healthy. The Zika virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes. Although for most people it only results in a mild infection and isn’t really harmful there are more serious consequences for pregnant women as it causes birth defects in babies. The Zika outbreak is reported to be in the Caribbean and America, including Brazil, which has resulted in a number of Olympic athletes choosing to not take part in the games.

There is currently no vaccine for the Zika virus therefore it is important to try to protect yourself from mosquitoes. This can be done through wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs and wearing mosquito repellent, as well as sleeping in an air conditioned room with fitted window screens. It has been advised by the World Health Organization that pregnant women should not attend the Olympics, however it they must travel that they should speak to their doctors and obtain professional advice. Women who are not pregnant but who are visiting Rio and high risk Zika areas are advised to wait at least six months before trying to conceive.

When going abroad it is important to ensure that all your vaccines are up to date. Many infectious diseases thrive in warm, crowded areas. Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world therefore as well as being vaccinated against the regular measles, mumps, rubella it is also advise to have a flu shot and chickenpox as well as hepatitis, typhoid, yellow fever and malaria.

It is also advised to avoid swimming in lakes, rivers and on certain beaches. Freshwater lakes and rivers often have parasitic worms that can cause sickness and some bays and beaches are also deemed unclean. As well as ensuring that you only eat food that has been prepared and cooked to a safe standard and only drink clean bottled water.

Probably the most important preparation to undertake before travelling is to check your travel insurance policy, review what it covers you for. Depending on how long you are travelling for and the nature of your travel consider the benefits of taking out a private health insurance policy. Different countries offer locals and nationals alternative treatments in the event of an emergency Make sure that you are covered and are able to receive the best possible care quickly regardless of where you are around the world. A global PMI can offer emergency evacuation and repatriation, primary care, prescribed drugs, a choice of treatment location as well as full in and outpatient treatment.

To ensure you will always have access to the best available medical treatment where ever you are – speak to one of the team at BD Global Medical today on +44 (0)203 356 9782