There are only a few days until the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off on August 3. This year, for Rio 2016, there will be a record number of sports that the athletes will participate in. There will also be a record number of nations participating in the games, with the total adding up to 207.
However, a huge concern regarding this years’ Olympics is the Zika virus that is raging through Brazil. It can also be found in Brazil’s second-largest city, Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympics will be held.
Are you heading to Rio soon, either to the Summer Olympics or the Paralympic Games, which will be held in Rio from September 7 to 18? If so, these tips will help you avoid getting Zika. With them, you won’t have to worry about Zika ruining your chances of seeing your favorite athletes compete for the Olympic gold.
Get Your Vaccinations
One of the main things that everybody traveling to Brazil for the Olympics (or for any other reason) has to do is get different routine vaccines. There are a few vaccines that can keep you from getting yellow fever and other mosquito-borne diseases. Unfortunately, there isn’t a vaccine for Zika yet. This is why you need to take other precautions to avoid falling ill with Zika.
Use Insect Repellents
The main way to protect yourself from Zika is to prevent mosquito bites in the first place. If the mosquitos can’t bite you, then there’s less of a chance of you getting the Zika virus.
The first thing to do to prevent mosquito bites is to use insect repellent. Don’t use just any insect repellent, but one that has at least 20% DEET, one that has Picaridin or IR3535, or one that has lemon eucalyptus or para-Menthane-3,8-diol (for those who prefer the more natural mosquito repellents).
For a list of specific products, check out our list of the 12 best repellents. These will help protect you against the different mosquito-borne diseases, including Zika.
Just remember that you need to also re-apply your repellent during the day. Most bug sprays, especially the natural or organic ones, tend to lose their efficacy after just a couple of hours. So, don’t be afraid to whip out your repellent in the stands of any Rio 2016 sporting event and spray yourself. You definitely want to make sure that your protection against mosquitoes doesn’t end.
Wear Appropriate Clothing
Using insect repellent isn’t the only precaution you can take to make sure that you’re protected from mosquito bites. It’s also not the only way to ensure you’re protected against the Zika virus during your time in Brazil watching the Summer Olympics. To limit mosquitoes’ access to your skin, make sure you wear long clothes. This means long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks that cover your feet and ankles, and a hat to protect your head.
On top of being a barrier between your skin and the proboscis of a mosquito, this long clothing will also mask your skin from mosquitoes. This means that you won’t be as obvious of a target to them as you would be if you were wearing short sleeves. To add to that, your clothes also should be in light colors, like white, light blue, and so on. Light clothing doesn’t absorb heat, so the mosquitoes will have a harder time finding you and marking you as a target with their senses.
Choose Your Accommodation Carefully
The last thing to mention here is that you should also try to find a hotel, or other accommodation, which offers good insect protection. This means mosquito screens on the windows and doors, a mosquito net around the bed, and air conditioning. Even if you plan to spend all your time in Rio attending different sporting events, you’ll have to sleep somewhere.
But at night, we’re actually the most vulnerable to mosquito bites since we aren’t awake to swat the mosquitoes away. So if your accommodation doesn’t protect its guests from mosquitoes, it might not matter how careful you are with mosquito protection during the day. The mosquitoes can still do their damage during the night.
So, are you heading to the Rio Olympics in Brazil soon to watch all of the action in person? Then, make sure that you wear long, light-colored clothing during the day. Stock up on mosquito repellent. Make sure that you check the ingredients and their strength.
You want your bug spray to actually be able to keep you safe from mosquito bites. Finally, book a hotel or other accommodation that’s great at keeping the mosquitoes away. This will keep you safe while you’re relaxing or sleeping in your room after all the excitement of the many Olympic sporting events.