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Influenza Prevention: Information for Travelers (US CDC, Updated May 4 2011)

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  • Influenza Prevention: Information for Travelers (US CDC, Updated May 4 2011)

    [Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, full page: (LINK).]
    Influenza Prevention: Information for Travelers

    Although influenza activity is low in the United States during the U.S. summer months with only sporadic outbreaks, influenza viruses can circulate at high levels in other parts of the world at that time. For example, the Southern Hemisphere usually experiences its flu season from April through September, and flu activity can occur year-round in the tropics. (Visit the international flu activity page for an update on recent flu activity abroad.)

    Influenza Vaccine Information for Travelers

    CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine yearly, preferably in the fall before the U.S. flu season begins. During other times of the year, however, people traveling to parts of the world where influenza activity is ongoing, and who have not gotten the vaccine for the current season, should get a flu vaccine to protect themselves while on their trip. This is particularly important for people at high risk of flu-related complications. This recommendation also applies to people who are traveling within the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere as part of large tourist groups (e.g., on cruise ships) that may include people from other parts of the world where flu activity is ongoing. For more information, see the entitled section "Travelers" in the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) influenza guidance.

    People should get vaccinated two weeks before travel because it takes two weeks for vaccine immunity to set in after vaccination.

    Another important thing for travelers to keep in mind when it comes to flu vaccine availability is that all influenza vaccine manufactured for the 2010-2011 season expires in June of 2011. After June, flu vaccines will not be available in the U.S. until the 2011-2012 vaccine is available sometime in the fall.
    Large quantities of vaccine were distributed throughout the United States during 2010-2011 and providers should still have access to vaccine.

    The 2010-2011 flu vaccine used in the Northern Hemisphere protects against the main viruses that have been circulating in other parts of the world.

    More Information for Travelers
    • If you are sick with symptoms of influenza-like illness, you should not travel. These symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.
    • Stay home if you are sick until at least 24 hours after you no longer have a fever (at least 100?F [37.8?C] ) or signs of a fever (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol?).
    Travel Preparation

    CDC: Visit the CDC Travelers Health Map. Select from a list of regions.
    During and After Your Trip

    During your trip, follow local guidelines and practice healthy habits

    Pay attention to announcements from the local government and monitor the local health and security situation.

    Follow any movement restrictions and prevention recommendations.

    Wash your hands often with soap and running water, especially after coughing or sneezing. (Use alcohol-based hand gels ? containing at least 60% alcohol ? when soap is not available and hands are not visibly dirty.)

    Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and put your used tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
    Avoid close contact with sick people.

    What to do if you feel sick

    It is expected that most people infected with flu will recover without needing medical care. If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, seek medical care. A U.S. consular officer can help you find local medical care in a foreign country. To contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting, call Overseas Citizens Services at:

    1-888-407-4747 if calling from the U.S. or Canada, 00-1-202-501-4444 if calling from other countries, or Visit websites of U.S. Embassies, Consulates, and Diplomatic Mission to find the contact information for the local U.S. Embassy of the country you are visiting.

    Follow all local health recommendations.
    Tips for After Your Trip

    Closely monitor your health for 7 days. If you become ill with flu symptoms, seek medical attention if they are severe.

    Contact Us:
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
      1600 Clifton Rd
      Atlanta, GA 30333
    • 800-CDC-INFO
      TTY: (888) 232-6348
      24 Hours/Every Day
    Page last reviewed: May 4, 2011

    Page last updated: May 4, 2011

    Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention