Travel FluSmart

Feb 11, 2016

I have the flu, can I travel?

If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, you should not travel. Do not travel until you have been fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medicine for at least 24 hours.

How should I prepare for my trip?

Before leaving you should:

  • Research the current flu activity in your destination.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on your flu vaccine because flu seasons vary by location.
  • If you need a flu vaccination, get it at least two weeks before you travel.
  • Flu vaccinations should be available at your local travel clinic all year round.
  • Find out if your health insurance plan will cover medical care during your trip.
  • Consider purchasing additional insurance if you are staying for an extended period.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance.
  • Research in-country health care resources in case of a medical emergency.
  • Influenza vaccination before travel is always a wise precaution, particularly where outbreaks are occurring, and is particularly important for high-risk people (link)

Six countries— Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam—have widespread and ongoing infections of H5N1 Avian Flu in their poultry. Visit the World Health Organization website for the latest situation.

Seasonal flu vaccines do not protect against H5N1 influenza so the best way to prevent infection is to avoid any contact with sick or dead poultry. This includes avoiding visiting live poultry markets that may be infected with H5N1 when traveling. Also avoid sick people who might have H5N1 virus infection in affected countries. 

Will the vaccine given in Australia protect me in other parts of the world?

The 2014 Australian vaccine contains an earlier H3N2 strain which, while not a perfect match for the circulating H3N2 virus, would be expected to afford some level of protection. It will also help protect against influenza B and H1N1 strains currently seen in various parts of the world.

The Northern Hemisphere vaccine containing the H3N2 strain that is currently circulating in North America is not   registered in Australia and, therefore, isn’t available here.

It takes 1-2 weeks to develop immunity after vaccination so it may not be wise to await arrival overseas before vaccination, particularly as vaccine shortages have been reported in the USA. For people staying any length of time it may be possible to receive a booster of local vaccine after arrival.

How can I stay healthy while away? 

Follow our recommendations to protect yourself.

Pay attention to announcements from the local government.

Monitor the local health and security situation.

Follow any local movement restrictions and prevention recommendations.

I am abroad and I think I have the flu. What should I do?

If you have any flu-like symptoms:

Follow all local health recommendations.

Follow our treatment recommendations.

Seek medical care if you are severely ill or at high-risk for flu-related complications.

Contact an Australian embassy if you require assistance locating medical care.

What should I do upon my return

Closely monitor your health for seven days. If you have any flu-like symptoms during that time, follow our treatment recommendations. If you are at high-risk for flu-related complications seek medical attention quickly. Seek medical attention if symptoms become severe.

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