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Cold, Flu, & Cough Health Center

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Swine Flu and Travel: 6 Tips

Should You Cancel Your Travel Plans? What If You Get Sick? Find Out What to Do
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Are you rethinking your travel plans in light of H1N1 flu (swine flu)? Here are six travel recommendations to keep in mind.

1. No U.S. travel restrictions recommended for healthy people. 

The CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) don't have any travel restrictions in place for healthy travelers.

The World Health Organization (WHO) isn't recommending any travel restrictions related to the swine flu pandemic. That's because the H1N1 virus has already spread worldwide, so, as the WHO's web site states, "limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little impact on stopping the virus from spreading, but would be highly disruptive to the global community."

2. If you're sick, stay home.

The CDC and WHO advise against traveling if you're sick.

"If you have flu-like symptoms, you should stay home and avoid travel for seven days after you get sick or for at least 24 hours after you stop having symptoms, whichever is longer," states the CDC's web site.

Symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue -- just like regular seasonal flu. For some people, swine flu symptoms have also included diarrhea and vomiting.

3. High-risk travelers should consult a doctor first.

The CDC recommends that people in high-risk groups check with their doctor before traveling to areas reporting H1N1 flu. Travelers at high risk for complications from flu include:

  • Kids younger than 5
  • People 65 and older
  • Pregnant women
  • People of all ages who have any chronic medical condition. That includes people with asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Kids and teens younger than 18 who are on long-term aspirin therapy and who might be at risk of Reye's syndrome after influenza virus infection.
  • Adults and children with weak immune systems, including immune system suppression caused by medicines or by HIV.

4. Traveling overseas?

Check on how the country you're going to or traveling through handles swine flu. Although the WHO doesn't recommend travel restrictions, countries are free to set their own H1N1 policies, and some travelers have been screened or quarantined in other countries because of swine flu concerns.

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