Are you fit for travel?
If you’re like me and usually only travel for 1 - 2 weeks at a time, you wouldn’t want to spend the entire trip in your hotel bed would you? No, I thought not. Same here.
I’m guessing your travel planning checklist includes things like travel insurance, mosquito repellant, antidiarrhoeals, maybe some hydration sachets or a first aid kid? Do you get a flu vaccination too?
Did you know that people who travel are in a high risk group to contract the flu virus? It’s logical when you think about it……spending (sometimes long) periods of time in enclosed spaces like aeroplanes, buses and waiting areas or hotels, bars, festivals or sporting events, exposes you to a huge amount of people. This increases your chances of contracting the flu virus.
Flu is a pretty big deal if you get it as it can literally floor you for at least a week but usually longer. Here’s the lowdown so you can be prepared…….
Flu epidemics occur almost every year and in the northern hemisphere, the season runs from November to April. In the southern hemisphere it runs from April to September. In tropical areas, there is no clearly defined season, however it does appear to peak during rainy season.
The virus is spread very easily via airborne droplets, direct contact with respiratory secretions and hand contamination. Signs and symptoms generally include fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, head cold and sore throat. There’s no cure so it’s just management of symptoms and ride it out unfortunately.
Luckily the World Health Organisation is on the case and monitors flu trends worldwide each year to try and predict what strain will need to be put into the vaccine for that year. If you live in the UK and are in an at risk group (over 65, pregnant, have a chronic illness or immunosuppressed) you can usually get a vaccination free on the NHS. However, if that’s not you, you can generally have it done in local pharmacies for around £5 - £8. I got mine done last week whilst grocery shopping in Asda! It took literally 10 minutes start to finish. If you are travelling to the opposite hemisphere during their flu season but not in your own countries season, it may be worthwhile to research your destination and find out where you can get the vaccine as it won’t be available in your own country.
There are some other ways to help prevent transmission such as:
- washing your hands regularly
- using tissues and disposing of them frequently
It is also helpful to clean things like your computer keyboard and phone as the virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to 24 hours. YUK!
Although you might be doing all these things to prevent the spread of infection, others may not, so think about also carrying some antibacterial hand gel in your pocket for when you do have to touch things such as door handles, ATM’s, card payment machines or handles on public transport/public toilets.
Of course, all of this may still not prevent you from getting the flu but it can go a long way towards it and may be the difference between you getting the most out of your trip or only seeing the 4 walls of your hotel room. Seems to me that it’s worth the small investment.
What's your thoughts on flu vaccination? Do you partake or not? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.