Many countries are accelerating the ease of travel restrictions due to social and economic reasons as well as the endemic nature of the Covid-19 virus. We begin to see a greater number of travel by vacationers, students, business travelers as well as pilgrims. However, it is important to be vigilant and vary due to the constantly evolving nature of viruses that are lurking among us.
Influenza is one such virus that requires continuous global monitoring and frequent reformulation of influenza vaccines. Vaccination is the primary tool to reduce influenza morbidity and mortality, so it's recommended for all high-risk groups, including pregnant women, children aged under 5 years; adults aged 65 years and over; persons of all ages with chronic medical conditions, and health care workers.
The average influenza activity period in a country is 4.7 months. But activity typically peaks during colder seasons like winter in the temperate northern hemisphere (November to March) and in the temperate southern hemisphere (April to September). While in tropical regions, influenza may occur throughout the year, causing outbreaks more irregularly. Therefore, you may need to get vaccinated at different times of the year depending on where in the world you are planning to travel. It's also worth noting that there are many types of influenza vaccines as not all are effective against all strains of the virus. So it’s best to check with your healthcare provider or public health authority for the most up-to-date information on influenza activity in the destination country before you book your trip.
How can influenza impact my travel plans?
Here is a summary of disease risks according to regions in the world. There is a common trend of influenza appearing in every region, which makes it the main disease to watch out for around the world.
Getting exposed to Influenza and developing symptoms related to it while traveling are influenced by many factors, such as the destination of your trip, duration, the season of travel, your itinerary, the purpose of travel, and the type of accommodation. Getting exposed to Influenza and developing symptoms related to it while traveling are influenced by many factors, such as the destination of your trip, duration, the season of travel, your itinerary, the purpose of travel, and the type of accommodation.
Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that could be deadly, especially for high-risk groups like senior citizens, pregnant women, and young children. The symptoms associated with Influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. There are instances of vomiting and diarrhea; however, this is more common in children than in adults.
Your Travel Vaccine Checklist
Everyone wants happy memories of their trip overseas. Getting sick and getting confined to your hotel room is certainly not on the agenda. Here are some suggestions to include while planning your travel checklist :
Check with your healthcare provider or book an online consultation on the Doctor Anywhere app to find out which type of influenza vaccine, is right for you. There are many different types of vaccines available, so it's important to get the right one for your destination.
Consult your doctor ahead of time. Influenza vaccines need to be given at least two weeks before your travel date to be effective. So plan and make sure you get vaccinated early.
Make sure you're up-to-date on all other regular vaccinations as well depending on where you're traveling. You may need other vaccines such as Hepatitis A & B, typhoid, or yellow fever.
Suppose you have allergies to eggs or had adverse reactions to the previous dose of the Influenza vaccine. Speak to your doctor about any contradictions beforehand.
Remember that no vaccine is 100% effective, so it is important to adhere to certain safe steps to avoid contracting the virus - wash hands regularly; wear a mask when in public areas, and try to avoid close contact with any persons who are sick.
If you are unable to get vaccinated or want to carry medication as a precautionary measure when traveling. You may need a letter from your doctor to confirm the medications are for personal use.
Carry your medication in your hand luggage in case your checked-in baggage gets lost or stolen.
Whether traveling overseas or not, it is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual Influenza vaccination, and this includes healthy adults. Vaccination is especially important for people who are considered in the high-risk group. The following links will give you an understanding of what types of vaccinations are available for each category of vaccination recipient.
Elderly, pregnant women, caregivers, and people with medical conditions like asthma or diabetes.
Meningococcal & Influenza
Suitable for infants 6 months, and older
Haemophilus Influenza or Pneumoccocal Influenza
Frequent travelers and those who travel overseas for work.
Essential (3-in1) or Comprehensive (5-in1) travel vaccinations.
Hajj & Umrah vaccinations
Those traveling to the Middle East to perform their religious duties
Meningococcal & Influenza
Should you have more questions about influenza or travel vaccinations, speak to a GP via virtual consultation. Alternatively, visit https://dranywhr.my/travel-vaccinations to book a home vaccination package that suits you. Packages are available for residents of Klang Valley only.