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Travel & living abroad
Last updated at 7:17 (UK time) 6 Jul 2010

Swine flu

swine flu

If you live in a country affected by swine flu, you should monitor our travel advice.

About to travel overseas?

In some instances swine flu might affect your travel plans, you should therefore consult the travel advice for the country concerned.

Before you travel

  • If you have swine flu, do not travel until you are no longer showing symptoms.
  • Check to see if your destination is reporting cases of swine flu. You can look on the NaTHNaC website for up-to-date information.
  • Stock up on waterless alcohol-based hand gels.
  • You should also consider:
    • whether you need to go to a swine flu affected area
    • the risk of getting swine flu at your destination
    • the level of medical care including access to anti-viral medications in the event you need treatment for an influenza-like illness (fever plus two or more of cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches or headache).
  • You should receive appropriate vaccines and other preventive measures for your destination. This includes seasonal influenza vaccine if you come under the recommended risk groups. See NaTHNaC Health Information Sheet on Influenza
  • You should obtain comprehensive travel health insurance, and clarify any exclusions to coverage.
  • You should also check the policy of your carrier or tour operator on transporting people who are ill, or who have been exposed to or diagnosed with the A(H1N1) swine flu virus.

During travel

Influenza is transmitted via the respiratory route and you should exercise sensible precautions:

  • Follow public health guidance at your destination.
  • Avoid crowding or mass gatherings.
  • Where possible avoid close contact with persons who are ill with an flu-like illness.
  • Wash hands with soap and water; use waterless alcohol-based hand gels when soap and water is not available.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes, to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue promptly. 
  • Keep hard surfaces (e.g. door handles, countertops) clean using a normal cleaning solution. 
  • Ensure that children follow similar advice.
  • Swine flu has not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly handled and cooked pork and pork products.
  • There is little evidence of the effectiveness of wearing masks, However, properly fitted special grade masks can be worn in situations such as healthcare settings.
  • If you fall ill while abroad (especially with flu-like symptoms) you should seek medical assistance. Where possible the British Embassy/High Commission/Consulate should be able to provide British nationals with details of English-speaking doctors and information on the local availability of anti-virals.

After you travel

Travellers who have visited affected areas should monitor their health for seven days after the visit. If you develop a flu-like illness with cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache or muscle aches, within seven days you should:

  • Check your symptoms.
  • Limit contact with other people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the tissue promptly.
  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Keep hard surfaces (e.g. door handles, countertops) clean using a normal cleaning solution.

British nationals abroad

If you live in a country affected by swine flu, you should monitor our travel advice. This might include obtaining access to anti-viral medicine. If you have any concerns over your own health, you should seek medical advice.

Many countries may have limited availability of anti-viral drugs. Our Embassy/High Commission/Consulate staff may be able to provide advice on the availability of local medicines or healthcare, but we cannot provide medical treatment (including anti-viral medication).


 
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