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    Swine Flu and Travel - The Latest Advice

    Swine flu panic seems to have doubled overnight. Without meaning to sound too cynical, it's possible that the closure of parliament and the start of what's usually a quiet news time have contributed to a sudden re-surge of media interest in the pandemic. Nonetheless, it's a serious issue that's likely to affect most of us at some point over this busy holiday season.

    Since we first wrote about the virus, the basic recommendations of how to prevent the spread of infection have remained the same, but according to Travel Weekly, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are now monitoring passengers and turning them away if they appear to be ill, with other airline and cruise companies likely to follow.The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said that travelling against official advice would often nullify any policy and insurers would not pay out in the event of illness while abroad, but most insurers should be flexible when it came to dealing with claims relating to swine flu, especially as often the sufferer is not officially diagnosed. Here's the most sensible basic travel advice I've found from official sources: If you are travelling to Europe, make sure you have your free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

    This entitles you to any necessary medical treatment, including for swine flu, during a visit to another European Economic Area country.• Before setting off, check to see if your destination is reporting cases of swine flu. You can look on the NaTHNaC website for up-to-date case totals. You may need to get a flu jab if the area is badly affected and you come under one of the high risk groups. Make sure you get insurance that will cover the costs if you have to cancel your trip (not all of them do). If you do get swine flu, the government's advice is to avoid travel completely until all symptoms are gone. During your trip, try to avoid crowded or mass gatherings. Wash your hands or use antibacterial gels regularly in public places.

    Travellers who have visited affected areas should monitor their health for seven days after the visit. If you develop a flu-like illness with cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache or muscle aches, within seven days you should check your symptoms via the NHS direct website and contact your GP if you're worried.Here are the best websites to monitor for the latest advice:http://www.fco.gov.ukhttp://www.nathnac.org/travel/swineflu.htmhttp://www.direct.gov.uk http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk http://www.flusurvey.org.uk

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