Health and Fitness

Flu Season Travel Essentials: How To Stay Flu-Free During Vacations

The uptick in both international and domestic travel continues as borders open up. More flights are becoming available, making it the perfect time to file vacation leaves, pack bags, and hop on a plane.

However, while traveling is indeed fun, the possibility of getting sick during vacations can be quite daunting. To avoid that from happening, here are some tips to take note of before, during, and after your trips, to ensure there’s no stopping your much-awaited revenge travel.

Before the trip

Before hopping on the plane to your next destination, be sure that you’ve received your annual flu vaccination. It’s ideal to get vaccinated at least two weeks before traveling, as it takes around the same amount of time for the body to develop immunity. As studies have shown, getting immunized greatly reduces the risk of contracting the flu, as well as the severity should you still get infected.

“Being in a new province or country also means greater exposure to various illnesses. Not to mention, flu seasons vary across different countries, which means that regardless of where you are going, getting vaccinated should be at the top of your pre-travel checklist,” says Dr. Jing Velasco-Aro, Vaccine Medical Head of GSK Philippines.

For example, countries in the Northern Hemisphere typically experience the flu season between October and April or May, while Southern Hemisphere nations have an April to September peak. Meanwhile, tropical countries generally see flu cases for most of the year. Take note of what conditions to expect in your destination, and be prepared for any situation by getting your flu jab.

During the trip

When you finally arrive, follow local guidelines in the area, pay attention to important safety announcements, and adhere to the standard health and social distancing protocols. In some places, a face mask is no longer required but you have the option to keep it on for extra protection. Wash your hands often, have rubbing alcohol with you at all times, and try to avoid contact with those who appear to be sick.

If you do end up feeling ill during your vacation, stay in your accommodations until you feel better, unless you need medical care. While resting, it is recommended to increase your fluid intake and eat nutritious food. Fever should be gone within 24-hours without the need for fever-reducing medicines. Aside from these, it’s also important to be wary of emergency warning signs that might need urgent medical attention such as difficulty breathing, severe or persistent vomiting, sudden dizziness, and other unusual symptoms.  

After the trip

Of course, the healthy habits must continue until you return home. After your trip, closely monitor your health for seven days. If you start to feel ill and experience flu symptoms during this time, you can opt to seek medical attention to get treated right away.

“2023 poses an exciting time for Filipino travelers, but before packing your suitcases and going on your trip, prepare adequately and be aware of how to stay safe in a foreign area,” Dr. Velasco-Aro encourages. “Do some research about your destination, prepare your health essentials, follow proper safety protocols, and most importantly, get your flu vaccines.” she ends.


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