Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Health and Safety Guide for Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Going to Brazil can be exciting, breathtaking, and… perhaps, dangerous. This article will list some tips in order to help avoid inconveniences, and allow a more enjoyable experience.


Brazil is not the safest place in the world, but, these recommended precautions are actually valid anywhere. As a general rule, walking with valuable items, like jewelry, expensive watches, and lots of money, might be a bad idea. Try to keep it simple, especially at night and when on foot.

Using the Phone

If you need to make a call or use your cell phone, be sure to do so in a closed, safe place, like a store, café, or anything similar. Not only will you avoid loud noises, but, you will not be taking any chances of getting robbed.

Carry your goods close to you

When riding public transport, keep backpacks or purses close to you, if possible, in front of your body. This is enough to keep pickpockets away. Also, the chances of getting mugged are greater if you are walking without anything in your hands. Carrying bags or non-valuable objects would, supposedly, make you spend more time in reaching for your wallet during a mugging.

Carry two wallets

Some foreigners, and even some Brazilians, are used to carrying two wallets with them: the regular one, and the other one, with useless cards, papers, and a very small amount of cash, just in case. In an extreme situation, like a mugging, when the thief asks for your wallet, you can give him the fake one, avoiding the loss of credit cards, money, and any important documents.

Use ATMs on Malls

If you ever need to withdraw money, the most suitable place to do so is in a mall. There are lots of ATMs in banks and on the streets, but, the risk of being robbed is higher in these situations.


Prostitution is legalized in Brazil even though prostitution houses aren’t. That is one of the reasons why the number of street prostitutes is considerably higher during the night in some areas. It is important to remember that, in Brazil, cases of theft and mugging, by people who are adept at the world’s most antique profession, may occur quite often.

Health Problems

A generic tip is to consume mineral bottled water, since tap water is not safe to drink. It might also be a good idea to eat and drink only in places where you can be sure that the food is fresh — especially seafood — and there is no risk of somebody putting something on your drink.

In addition, there are some Brazilian diseases that are not usual in other countries. Make sure your vaccines are up-to-date, and avoid still waters, for example, as a measure of avoiding dengue and other illnesses.

Food Poisoning

Some food may offer some risks to health if not stored or served in appropriate conditions. Brazil temperatures rise often, so, items like mayonnaise, for example, spoils quite easily. To avoid any bacterial infection, try eating safer, well-cooked food.

Dangerous Animals, Insects, and Plants

In some Brazilian areas, exotic animals and insects may appear. Prefer walking on safer paths, avoiding tall grasses, for example. Also, do not eat any plant which you are not familiar with, unless it is proven that it is edible and safe. In case of any incident involving poisonous species, ask for help or call 192, which is the number for medical and health emergencies.


The Brazilian coast has over 7,300 kilometers of extension, but, not all of them are suitable for bathing. Some beaches, especially the ones closer to big cities, might be inappropriate for swimming, so, make sure to check if the water is clean before diving. Another valid precaution is to leave valuable goods at home or at the hotel, preventing any sort of theft.

General Precautions


Having to deal with lost documents is far from pleasurable, especially when you are abroad. Since your passport is your most important document, it might be a good idea to make a copy. That way, it is possible to leave the original one safe and sound.


If you are going to ride a bike, be careful with the Brazilian traffic and plan your routes, making sure that you go through safe streets. Bicycles are not very common in many Brazilian cities, especially on weekdays. Most of them do not even have bike lanes.

Brazilian Police

When needed, the Brazilian military police can be reached by calling 190 from any telephone. To avert any possible trouble, speak respectfully with police officers, and try to keep calm while talking. And, even though generalizations are often misleading, the Brazilian population usually complains about their police's lack of effectiveness and, sometimes, excessive abruptness. Furthermore, cases of corruption involving policemen come up every now and them.

Shred documents before throwing them away

This is a simple one. It might be a good idea to shred documents and other papers before throwing them away. A simple measure like this prevents any data from being stolen, and, additionally, keeps curious people away.

Be sure to check the weather

Brazil lacks a vigorous winter, but, it does not mean that the temperatures rise above 30ºC everyday. Be sure to check how the weather is before coming into the country. Also, air conditioners are quite common, so, wearing long sleeved shirts in closed spaces might prevent getting hit with a cold, flu, or sore throat.