Planning on going to the World Cup in South Africa this summer? If so, you are not alone. FIFA, the organization in charge of the international soccer competition, is expecting about 373,000 people from around the world to converge in South Africa to be a part of the 19th World Cup – the first to be hosted in Africa. From June 11 to July 11, visitors to South Africa can expect enthusiasm, excitement, and yes, a few crowds.
Whether you are traveling alone or with a team, friends, or family, we want to make sure you aren’t sidelined from the excitement of the matches with illness or injury. With careful preparation, you can reduce your chances of getting sick or hurt while away. Remember the following tips before, during, and after your trip to South Africa:
- See a travel medicine doctor. Be certain to share your full travel itinerary and medical history with the doctor.
- Obtain necessary vaccines and medications to stay well.
- Pack a travelers’ health kit to take with you.
- Register with the U.S. Department of State so you can be notified in the event of an emergency.
- Obtain medical travel insurance in case the unexpected occurs.
- Follow safe food and water practices.
- Practice healthy hygiene practices.
- Use sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and insect repellent containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%).
- Avoid risky behaviors, especially those related to alcohol use, sexual activity, and drug use.
- Avoid touching or petting animals, even pets.
- Swim only in chlorinated water.
- Stay alert and rely on common sense. Be aware when you move from a safe neighborhood to a dangerous area. Travel with a friend or group rather than venturing out alone.
- Choose a place to meet if you get separated from your group.
- Root for your favorite team!
- Continue taking antimalarial drugs if you visited a malaria-risk area and were prescribed them by a doctor. Malaria is always a serious disease. If you become ill with a fever or flu-like illness, either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the physician your travel history.
- See a health-care provider if you feel sick after you return, even if you did not visit a malaria-risk area. Make sure you tell your physician that you recently traveled.
Healthy and happy travels!