Travelling the world can be a great experience, but exposure to diseases found in some areas can dampen your wanderlust. Remember health is wealth so why not take care of it? While you have to make sure your trip is fun, you also have to make sure that you don’t compromise your health – that could ruin your vacation (or worse).
Therefore, before travelling overseas, check and see if you should be vaccinated against the diseases that are prevalent at your destination. You may need to have several different vaccines depending on your itinerary so that you are safe from health problems when you’re away from your home. Once you’ve had all your vaccines, how else can you make sure you’re a smart traveller?
While you plan your vacation, research the countries you’ll be visiting and the activities you’re going to undertake there. You may even want to consult a travel clinic to protect yourself from health issues overseas.
Influenza – A very common, yet potentially deadly, viral infection!
How does influenza spread? Well, this might surprise you – it’s so contagious that it can spread with even the slightest contact: a person sneezing around you, sharing drinks, kissing, hugging or even handshakes, touching a blanket or a doorknob! The flu virus can live on a surface for up to eight or ten hours. Think that hand sanitiser is a good idea yet? Well, it is advisable to use it, but will you remember to use it every time you shake hands or touch a doorknob? This is why having the influenza vaccine is a must before you travel to another country.
Here are top 7 reasons why you should get the influenza vaccination before your trip abroad –
- It’s much more than just a bad cold!
Flu is short for influenza, and while you may think it’s nothing more than a cough or a sniffle, it is a more significant infection. It usually produces shivers and sweats, body aches and pains and a high fever. Severe complications such as pneumonia can also result. All of this is enough to ruin your vacation or even keep you from getting out of your bed!
- Can threaten lives!
Now, why are we talking particularly of influenza vaccination? Because influenza is often down-played, but it has the potential to cause serious health problems and sometimes, death. Keep reading to know more.
- Poses higher risks to travellers
Influenza vaccination has to be an essential part of your travel vaccinations. Why? It’s very common, and when travelling by ship, planes, trains or buses, you are surrounded by people, in confined spaces. Some of them could be sick as it’s always flu season somewhere in the world, hence travellers are more prone to contract influenza.
- Prevails year-round in the tropics!
Flu is considered to be seasonal in the Southern Hemisphere (May to October) and in the North, Europe and North America, from September to March, but it is present all the time in the tropics. So while you may think your chances of getting influenza in a hot and humid climate are negligible, that’s probably where the risk is highest.
- Added security: Vaccines now available with four strains
Previously, the influenza vaccination covered three strains (two strains of influenza A and one of influenza B), but now, quadrivalent vaccines are available with four strains (containing a second influenza B strain). These vaccines are updated annually to cover changes or mutations in the viruses and so need to be given each year.
- So essential yet cost-friendly.
Also, if these vaccinations are so essential, you might be thinking you’d have to pay a lot to be safeguarded against them, right? Wrong. These are very affordable and even available for free for people who are 65 years old or more or who have some medical conditions. Anyone older than six months of age is advised to get the vaccine every year and this applies even when you’re not planning travel abroad.
- Who are the most vulnerable?
Anyone can catch the flu, but some groups are more vulnerable. Influenza vaccines are strongly recommended for people who have a weak immune system, for pregnant women or for certain conditions like asthma, cancer, heart problems, diabetes, etc.
The easiest and best way to avoid influenza is to have the vaccine every year. For a free travel vaccine guide or to know about the side-effects of flu vaccine or other travel vaccinations, log onto our website.
Some handy solutions to prevent spreading disease-causing microorganisms while travelling:
- Hand hygiene can help avert many viruses including flu. Always wash your hands with soap and water and do it regularly.
- Always use hand sanitiser (an alcohol-based one) or wipes.
- Avoid close contact with people. And keep a distance if you are sick yourself.
- Use of face masks during a flu epidemic is not recommended. If used, they should be used with other precautions and discarded properly after use.
Travel safe and smart!
Travelvax Pty Ltd
1/85 O’Riordan St, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
Phone: +61 3 0036 0164