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Shoot for the goal! Stay safe and healthy during the World Cup in South Africa this summer

Posted on by Ali S. Khan

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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:

Before you go

  • 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.

During your trip  

Don’t get too caught up in the excitement that you forget about your health and safety. Follow these tips to help ensure you enjoy your trip to the fullest.
Don’t get too caught up in the excitement that you forget about your health and safety. Follow these tips to help ensure you enjoy your trip to the fullest.
  • 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!

After you return

  • 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.

For more about staying healthy and safe in South Africa during the World Cup, visit the Travelers’ Health website at

Healthy and happy travels!

Posted on by Ali S. KhanTags , , , ,

3 comments on “Shoot for the goal! Stay safe and healthy during the World Cup in South Africa this summer”

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    People can be susceptible to malaria at this years World Cup, I wonder if there is going to be any significant amount of people at risk. And with such an influx of new peoples coming through, would that further increase the risk?

    The cities where the World Cup matches will be held are not in the malaria risk area for South Africa. However, some of the venues are close to malaria risk areas, and it would be easy for travelers to take side trips into risk areas (in South Africa or in neighboring countries) while they are there. We advise travelers to give their complete itineraries, including any side trips, to their travel medicine providers in order to make decisions about malaria prophylaxis and other needed vaccines, medicines, and precautions.

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