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Keeping Olympic athletes safe: How 5 countries are mitigating Rio health hazards

By By Katy Galimberti, Staff Writer
July 13, 2016, 4:21:35 AM EDT


The upcoming Rio Olympics have presented no shortage of health concerns for top athletes from around the globe.

From the Zika virus to contaminated waters, conditions in Rio have brought up major health concerns leading up to the event. While some high-profile athletes backed out of the games altogether, others are taking the precautions needed to attempt to stay healthy throughout the competition.

Here’s what five countries are doing to keep their athletes prepared:

1. USA

Water athletes will compete in polluted waters during the 2016 Olympics, despite promises from Brazil's government to make the water safe.

Boathouse Sports, the manufacturer for the U.S. rowing team’s uniforms, announced that they will provide anti-microbial suits that are like a “second skin” in order to prevent any illnesses or diseases due to the contaminated waters.

The athletes will wear the suits for training leading up to the games. If the entire team prefers the new high-tech suit over the thicker, traditional suit (also made to be anti-bacterial), they will wear the new design. The entire team has to agree to wear the same garment, according to the Associated Press.

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2. South KoreaAthletes from South Korea will stroll through the opening ceremony on Aug. 5 in long pants and long sleeves, covering as much skin as possible.

The outfit will also be infused with repellant in an attempt to ward off Zika-carrying mosquitoes.


3. Ireland

While the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and Brazilian officials stress that Zika is not a major threat to spectators or athletes at the games, Ireland has specific instructions for their athletes in order to avoid the disease.

Irish athletes have been ordered to return home as soon as they complete their respective events in order to mitigate potential Zika risk.

Team Ireland’s chief medical officer, Sean Gaine, told the Sunday Times that athletes are more likely to let their guard down and not take proper precautions after their events conclude.

Do you think it's fair to have Olympic athletes compete in hazardous conditions?

From the Zika virus to polluted waters, conditions in Rio have brought up major health concerns leading up to the games.



4. Spain

Spain is hoping to keep their athletes safe with more than 3,000 bottles of mosquito repellant at this summer’s games.

According to the Associated Press, Spain’s Olympic Committee reached an agreement with Omega Pharma to provide the athletes with its strongest repellent for the entirety of the event.

5. Great Britain

For British athletes, avoiding Zika mosquitoes will require a minor relocation during the games.

The athletes will live on the third floor and higher in Olympic Village accommodations to avoid being bit by a Zika-carrying mosquito, the Mirror reported. Mosquitoes that bite humans typically fly lower than 25 feet.

The lower floors will instead be used for storage and office space.

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