Starting 20th September, across 12 Japanese cities, 48 matches will be played to determine the winner of Rugby World Cup 2019. Millions of people from around the world are expected to travel to Japan to attend this amazing sporting event. Much like any other reason for travelling, it does come with some health risks.
Big sporting events, like the Rugby World Cup, attract huge numbers of people which increases the risk of getting sick and spreading diseases. Venues are sometimes described as giant Petri dishes, where viruses and bacteria can flourish and spread.
But how can you prepare yourself so you remain healthy throughout your holiday?
It is advised that individuals are up-to-date with routine immunisations including diphtheria, tetanus and polio.
If you plan to venture outside of the major cities and explore Japan whilst you are there, you may need to consider some travel vaccines, such as Rabies and Hepatitis A or Hepatitis B. If those plans include visiting more rural areas, Japanese Encephalitis could be considered. For those trekking, hiking or camping, a vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis will provide protection against the disease.
Ensure you are immune to measles before you travel. Japan has had multiple large outbreaks of measles this year and it is a highly contagious disease.
The best protection against measles is to ensure you have received 2 doses of the vaccine. You may not have received the full course during your childhood vaccines which means you’re not fully immune. A simple blood test can determine immunity if you are unsure.
Flu season for the Northern Hemisphere begins in Autumn, which coincides with the start of the Rugby World Cup. Its possible people could pick up the flu virus at these events as the Flu is a highly contagious viral disease. Transmission of the flu is always amplified when large groups of people congregate in enclosed space. People travelling to and from mass gatherings can also spread flu to other communities and to family members when they get home. An infected person can transmit the virus before even realising they are sick.
Getting a flu vaccine every year is the best way to avoid getting seasonal flu.
Those travelling from mid-September onwards should consider getting the flu jab as soon as it becomes available.
Besides the flu vaccine, here are a few tips on how to minimize your risk of contracting an illness at the Rugby World Cup:
Despite having a good reputation for health care, it’s worth being prepared for minor illnesses and injuries when travelling abroad. Pack an essential First Aid Kit for your travels and include some basic items such as pain relief, plasters, antiseptic creams and something to treat minor wounds. Being able to treat minor accidents whilst abroad means less time hunting down a pharmacy or time wasted visiting a doctor should you need it.
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