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)
Countries such as Bangladesh, China, Egypt, India and Indonesia, have widespread and ongoing infections of H5N1 Avian Flu in their poultry. There have also been some cases of H7N9 Avian Flu detected in China. Visit the World Health Organization website for the latest situation.
Seasonal flu vaccines do not protect against H5N1 or H7N9 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 the Avian viruses when traveling. Also avoid sick people who might have been exposed to the virus in the above mentioned countries.
Will the vaccine given in Australia protect me in other parts of the world?
The 2019 Northern Hemisphere vaccine that has been recommended by the WHO contains different strains for both the H1N1 and the H3N2. The B strains are the same as the Australian (Southern Hemisphere) vaccine. So while one traveling into the northern hemisphere would be protected against the B strains, there would be little protection against the two A strains.
The Northern Hemisphere vaccine 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.
For information on possible treatment, see here.
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, contact your GP if you are concerned. If you are at high-risk for flu-related complications seek medical attention quickly. Seek medical attention if symptoms become severe.