Travel guidelines offered during flu pandemic

The top piece of advice: Don't travel if you're sick.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released travel recommendations surrounding the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Travelers who have an increased risk for complications from the flu should consult with their doctors about what to do if they develop symptoms of flu while on a trip and whether they should consider taking antiviral medications with them as a treatment option, in case appropriate medical care is delayed or not available.

Together, physician and patient should review the swine flu situation at the destination and the available health-care options in the area when considering what would be best in the situation.

Some people at increased risk of complications from flu may want to consider postponing travel.

People at high risk for complications include: Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2; adults 65 years or older and pregnant women.

Those with the following disorders are also at high risk: cancer, blood disorders, chronic lung or heart disease, diabetes, liver, neurological or kidney disorders and weakened immune systems.

Healthy people may make travel plans as they normally would and take common sense precautions to protect their health during travel, according to the CDC.

Travel preparations should include checking updated pandemic information and checking for other health risks at the destination, ensuring vaccinations are current, packing a travel health kit that contains basic first aid and medical supplies, identifying health-care resources in the area(s) of travel, checking with your health insurance plan to see what care is covered during a trip and checking yourself for symptoms of flu.

Do not travel if you are sick. This is both for your comfort and to keep others from getting sick, the CDC said.

If you get H1N1 flu, stay home and avoid travel for at least 24 hours after fever or fever-like symptoms are gone. Your fever should be gone without using a medicine that reduces fever.

If you travel, pay attention to announcements from the local government and monitor the local health and security situation. In addition to CDC's Travelers' Health Web site (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel) and the U.S. Department of State Web site (wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel), these announcements may come in many ways, such as through the local news media.

Follow any movement restrictions and prevention recommendations and be aware some countries are checking the health of arriving and/or exiting passengers and screening them for illness.

A United States consular officer can help locate medical care in a foreign country. To contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country you are visiting, call Overseas Citizens Services at:888-407-4747 if calling from the U.S. or Canada, 00-1-202-501-4444 if calling from other countries.

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