Brazil. Amazon river, gorgeous women in thongs, samba, carnival, football. Right? I don’t know. I do know that Brazil is not your backyard. It is a tropical developing world country with certain travel health risks. Whether you are heading to Brazil for the World Cup, or you plan on visiting the country for other reasons, there are a few things to keep in mind. In this post, we will explain everything you need to take into account in order to stay healthy while traveling in Brazil.
There are a couple of vaccinations that you should get – in addition to all of your routine vaccinations – before you travel to Brazil:
- Yellow Fever – A yellow fever vaccination is not required for entry into Brazil, and in many places, it is not a risk. If you are spending all of your time in major cities like Rio or São Paulo, you do not need to worry about it.
- Typhoid – a good idea for any developing world country.
For more on where to get vaccinations, how far in advance you need to get them, length of immunity, etc., have a look at our post on travel immunizations here. That article also details all of your routine vaccinations in case, you know, you’ve neglected them over the years.
Malaria often finds itself at the top of the travel health threat list for tropical countries. Its place there is warranted. It is a disease that kills over a million people every year. That said, the risk in most parts of Brazil is relatively low.
According to the CDC, you only have to worry about Malaria in the following areas: States of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Maranhaõ, Para, Rondonia, Roraima, and Tocantins. Also present in urban areas, including cities such as Belem, Boa Vista, Macapa, Manaus, Maraba, Porto Velho, and Santarem.
If you are going to be in any of those areas, read up on malaria here (info about prophylactics, treatment, diagnosis, etc.), and be sure to visit a doctor at a travel health clinic to have a full consultation. A doctor will determine whether you need a prescription for a prophylactic for any of the areas that you are visiting.
Eating and drinking
In general, it is a good idea to follow our guide on avoiding traveler’s diarrhea. That said, there is not an exceptional threat of food poisoning in Brazil.
Can you drink the tap water in Brazil?
The tap water in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo is safe to drink, but you may not enjoy the taste. That’s because the water is heavily treated with disinfectants.
If you are in smaller cities and rural areas that are less developed, go ahead and assume the tap water is not safe to drink and prepare to buy bottled water or to treat the tap water on your own.
If you are in Brazil for the World Cup, Carnival, or even just your average there-is-no-international-event-going-on kind of trip, you should watch your alcohol intake. Brazilians have a reputation for enjoying themselves, but it’s always important to know your limits and not overdo it.
If you are going to the Amazon, or certain places near the jungle, you will deal with a whole different can of worms. And yes, maybe some real worms. In this case, the travel health consultation is imperative.
Regardless of where you are traveling in Brazil, you should plan on bringing any medications you take on a regular basis, along with a basic first aid kit, some over-the-counter pain pills, allergy medication like Benadryl, and a broad-spectrum antibiotic like cipro, which can kill most bacteria that may upset your gut.
Beach culture is big in Brazil, and you may find yourself spending a lot of time out in the sun. Follow our guide on choosing a sunscreen and avoiding sunburn. Like alcohol, moderation is key.
Whether you are going to Luxembourg for a day or Brazil for a month, you should always take out travel insurance. We recommend World Nomads as a solid, all around travel insurance company that provides coverage for medical issues as well as things like theft.
If you’ve traveled to Brazil yourself, feel free to drop a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.