Brazil is a country of overwhelming attractions such as Christ the Redeemer and Iguazu Falls. It is also a haven of beaches including Copacabana and the staggering Fernando de Noronha islands group.
169,732 British nationals visited Brazil in 2013, with airplane the only means of transport available. From London to Rio de Janeiro, travellers should allow to between 12 and 16 hours to arrive.
Inevitably, travellers with diabetes will be in the air for a long time and you may be faced with altering your management.
You should discuss this in advance with your diabetes team before you leave for Brazil.
There are three diabetic associations in Brazil, with the addresses and contact information listed inside this travel guide.
Brazil possesses many time zones across the country, so it is therefore essential for travellers with diabetes to ascertain what the time will be when they land.
The time zone in Rio de Janeiro is three hours behind GMT, for example, which may not require drastic management changes. However, you should discuss how best to manage your medication with a diabetes specialist beforehand
The average climate in Brazil marks a stark contrast to that in the UK, with temperatures between January-April and September-December above 25°C in several cities.
However, in the traditional UK summer period, the temperature in Brazil drops to a similar level in which UK tourists will find much more manageable than when visiting outside of June-August.
Travellers with diabetes visiting Brazil outside of this period should prepare for extreme heat, which will necessitate increased checking of blood sugar levels if you take insulin.
Prolonged periods of activity, such as walking, can result in enhanced insulin absorption in hot weather so you could consider reducing your dosages before periods of physical activity.
The currency used in Brazil is the Brazilian Real. To obtain the best exchange rates it is advised to use a travel agent, bank or an airport in the UK or Brazil.
ATMs are generally open to exchange money from 06:00-22:00 every day, although it is worth noting that not all ATMs accept international credit cards.
Yellow Fever is a risk in certain parts of Brazil, but there is no vaccination certificate required to enter the country.
However, many experts recommend travellers entering certain areas of Brazil receive this vaccine. It is advised to consult your doctor eight weeks before travelling to analyse whether you should receive yellow fever vaccination.
Children younger than nine months old should not receive this vaccine, while there is no evidence to suggest that it would affect other medicines such as insulin.
Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.
You should note which syringes are available in Brazil, with U-100, U-50 and U-30 syringes commonly used.
The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.
For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.
Access to medication
UK citizens with diabetes will not be entitled to any free medication services while in Brazil. Securing comprehensive medical insurance will be essential in order to obtain even basic treatment.
Diabetic medication is available in Brazil, but payment will be required from all pharmacies, for which the Portuguese translation is “Farmácia”. Blood and urine testing kits are available from pharmacies in Brazil.
The emergency services telephone number to be called in Brazil is 192.
It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency. There are three diabetic associations in Brazil, the addresses are:
- Associacao De Diabetes Juvenil,
Rue Padre Antonio Tomas, 213,
Sao Paulo CEP 05003-010,
- Federacao Nacional de Associacoes e Entitades de Diabetes,
Rua Eça de Queiróz 198,
CEP 04011-031 São Paulo
- Sociedade Brasileira de Diabetes,
Rua Afonso Brás 579, salas 72/74,
Vila Nova Conceição,
04511-011 Sao Paulo-SP,
- How is blood glucose measured in Brazil? Blood glucose levels are measured in mg/dl
- What language is spoken in Brazil? Portuguese. Some locals in a customer service environment may know some English, it will be greatly beneficial to learn some general phrases to assist in your day-to-day activities. Learning phrases relating to your diabetes will be essential should you, or a member of your party, require medical assistance.
- Will I need an international driving license when driving in Brazil? No
- If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
- What sugar free drinks are available in Brazil? Diet Coke, diet guarana, tonica and mineral water