Swine Flu: Travel Advice For Half Term Break

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Health Protection Agency is reminding all travellers going abroad over the half term school break to take the necessary travel health precautions against swine flu.

Around the world, 41 countries have reported more than 11,000 cases of swine flu. In many, the position is similar to that of the UK. However travellers should be aware that there is widespread community transmission in North America.

In most cases to date the swine flu infection has been mild and although there are no travel restrictions in place related to this infection there are sensible precautions that travellers can take to protect themselves.

* Before travelling, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for information specific to the country you are visiting: www.fco.gov.uk

* Always follow general infection control practices and good respiratory hand hygiene to help reduce transmission of all viruses, including swine flu. This includes:

o Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of virus from your hands to face or to other people

o Cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product


o Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible

o Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully

o Making sure your children follow this advice

If travellers do become ill while on holiday, on the flight home, or on their return:

* Travellers should continue to be aware of the risk of swine flu and anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms during a stay in a country affected by swine flu should contact a health professional and inform them of their symptoms

* Anyone who becomes ill on their flight home should alert cabin crew to their symptoms. There are well established procedures in place for dealing with passengers who become unwell on flights and the airline will advise port health officials on the ground that a passenger requires a health assessment and may need treatment

* Travellers returning from a country affected by swine flu who become unwell with flu-like symptoms within seven days of their return should stay at home and contact their GP or NHS Direct on 0845 4647

* To access the Department of Health Swine Flu Information line when abroad, call 00 44 207 928 1010.