TORONTO – Feel like smoking? Go wash your face. Thirsty? Drink plenty of water.
National health officials around the world want you to have a great time at the World Cup, but hey, wait, not that much fun. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t snack, don’t pet dogs, don’t slouch, don’t get take-out, don’t swim and don’t even think about getting a Brazilian wax.
Read more World Cup coverage here.
Here’s the advice health officials around the world are doling out to its nationals heading to Brazil. Soccer fans, take from it what you will:
Choose fruits, not chips! Have three regular meals a day, and don’t even think about snacking, Hong Kong officials at the Centre for Health Protection advise. Skip the chips, popcorn and sugary treats and go for fresh fruit while you’re at it. (If you’re hosting a World Cup party, this Food Standards Agency 2010 advice calls for apples and grapes.) Unsalted nuts are great, too, but not with beer. Don’t drink beer.
This water sure is tasty: When it comes to drinking, advice varies based on where you’re from. “Drunk people are more likely to hurt themselves or other people, engage in risky sex or get arrested,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control warns. It wants U.S. citizens to drink “in moderation.”
That sounds mighty reasonable next to Hong Kong advice: “Avoid alcoholic beverages.” Instead, try water and homemade lemonade. And then there’s the U.K. compromise: “How about drinking with smaller glasses or alternating between alcohol and soft drinks?”
The U.K. NHS – National Health Service – suggests soccer may be a segue into quitting for good. “You could set yourself a goal of staying smoke-free for the duration of the tournament or (perhaps less ambitious) as long as England remains in the competition.”
If you’re itching, Hong Kong is sharing its expertise too: “When you feel like smoking, wash your face, do stretching exercises, try deep breathing and drink water to divert your attention from the urge.” Feeling better already, right?
Animals might spit on you: How scared are you of getting rabies? It’s scary stuff! If you’re heading to Brazil, already there, watching the game in the wilderness and even in your home, you’ve been duly warned: “You are at risk if you are bitten, scratched, licked on open skin by any animal or if an animal spits in your face,” Public Health England says in very descriptive imagery.
The department says rabies has been reported in Brazil but you might want to sleep with one eye open if Fido’s around. “Any animal, not just wild ones, but pets and domestic animals too, can have rabies, so you should avoid contact with wild or domestic animals,” the advice reads. If you’ve been bitten, scratched or licked, wash your wounds thoroughly with soap and water and seek emergency advice.
When in Brazil, do as the Brazilians do…or maybe not: Some of the advice gets cheeky, and it reads like your mother giving you advice while you cover your ears and scream. “Whether it’s the opposition or your partner, no one likes a dirty tackle, so do yourself a favour and clean up your act. No need to get a Brazilian, just get into the habit of practicing good personal hygiene to keep your junk clean,” the U.K.’s NHS tells its citizens.
Even better, it links off to handy advice on “how to wash your penis without injuring yourself.” Bookmark that, fellas.
No skinny-dipping: Or swimming in general. Fresh water lakes and rivers may leave you with a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis, according to the CDC.
Wrap it up: Your team just won, you’re buzzed (wait, you’re not supposed to be drinking), and you can’t go jump in the lake. Unprotected sex is off the table too, if you’re abiding by CDC advice.
“While celebrating, people may encourage travellers to engage in risky sex, especially if alcohol or drugs are involved. Carry condoms that were purchased from a reliable source,” the U.S. health officials write on their website.
Don’t get take-out: Ordering in takes all of the control out of your hands. “Yes, making all of the finger-food for your viewing party will take time, but it will allow you to better control the nutrition levels of your food,” U.S. officials say.
British officials are also thinking logistics: “With some of the matches starting in the evening, you might have time to eat your evening meal at home before you go out.”
Read more World Cup coverage here.
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