One major concern when travelling to a Third World nation is the possibility of getting sick. It seems every American who travels to Brazil gets either a sore throat or food poisoning. I have not been sick my last two times in Rio, and have not been seriously ill (meaning feeling queezy more than a few hours), in over two years.
Some safety precautions:
1. Pack anti-bacterial wipes. Wet Ones are good. You can buy packages of these for $1 at most department stores and pharmacies. Buying a few of the 15 packs is recommended because you can carry them on the plane. The larger 40-box is too large to carry with you on the plane, though you can put it in your checked baggage. I use them to wash at night and in the morning on the flight. Once in Rio use the wipes daily to clean your face and hands.
2. Eat yogurt. Yes, yogurt is a bacteria that will fight off other bacteria in your stomach. It is about 3 weeks prior to my trip and I am going to start eating a carton a day. I had food poisoning once in Rio after eating the “Portuguese Pizza” and I think I literally turned GREEN!
3. Do not kiss any Brazilian women. Sorry, single guys!
4. About a week prior to your trip begin drinking GatorAde, PowerAde, or another such supplemental drink daily. It is hot and humid in Brazil and Americans can easily become dehydrated. If you plan to drink alcohol in Brazil you will need to take this advice for sure. And, once in Rio, you will have to drink bottled water daily. Just go to a grocery store or pharmacy and buy a big bottle for about a dollar.