In the Northern Hemisphere, the winter holiday season coincides with flu season, which runs from October to April. That means that travelers will be crowding into airplanes and sharing other enclosed spaces at a time when the influenza virus is circulating. Since it’s nearly impossible for most people to eliminate all travel during flu season, here are some tips from SentinelMED, an air medical services provider, to help travelers minimize their chances of contracting the flu virus.
Take the flu seriously. An estimated 23,000 people die from the flu in the United States each year. Certain populations are more at risk for serious flu complications, including women who are pregnant, adults who are age 65 or older, and people who have serious medical conditions, are obese, or who are taking immunosuppressive
Get a flu shot at least two weeks before you travel. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of six months get a flu shot before the flu season begins and at least two weeks before traveling. The flu vaccine given in the Northern Hemisphere typically offers protection against flu strains circulating in other parts of the world, according to the CDC.
Check the incidence of flu reported at your destination. The CDC updates flu statistics weekly on its website in its FluView report and also provides a current flu activity map for the United States. The World Health Organization can be a resource for such information for people who are traveling outside the U.S.
Avoid germy surfaces and wash hands regularly. Travelers should remember to wash their hands with soap and water after touching doorknobs, handrails and other commonly touched surfaces, and to avoid putting their hands to their mouths.
Stay home if you have symptoms. Travelers who suspect they have the flu should stay home whenever possible. For this reason, flu season is a good time to investigate trip cancellation insurance.
Air Medical Services from SentinelMED
People who travel long-distances, whether to another continent or within the United States, should always take a few minutes to research and identify air medical services providers, and to share that information with family or friends at home.
The vast majority of travelers experience no health or safety concerns while away from home. However, in cases of accidents or illnesses, an air medical services provider may be needed to help a traveler return home safely.
SentinelMED provides domestic and international air medical transport, medical repatriation and medical escort services for people who are sick, injured or elderly. Our trained medical escorts are available to travel with patients on commercial airlines to help ensure that their care needs are met. This service can be a cost-effective alternative to air ambulances.
Our team works closely with hospital case managers to coordinate care for patients from a medical facility to a health care facility closer to their home, or to the home of a family member.
SentinelMED understands the complexity of delivering exceptional care to patients who need medical assistance during travel. Please contact us to learn more about the services that SentinelMED offers.