A travel guide

Will you be travelling abroad? As you roam the globe, there are a few measures you can take to reduce the risk of an avian flu infection.

  • Get an up-to-date account of countries experiencing avian flu outbreaks from a public health unit. These regions are generally in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Take extra care when travelling to these countries.
  • Do your best to avoid contact with birds like chickens, ducks, and wild fowl. Stay away from poultry farms or markets where live birds are sold.
  • If you do come into contact with birds that may be infected with avian flu, wash your body and clothing thoroughly, and disinfect your footwear. Remember, the virus can be carried on your shoes and in your hair.
  • Eat poultry and poultry products only if they have been thoroughly cooked first.
  • Get an annual flu shot before you travel. It won't fend off avian flu, but it will help keep your immune system from getting worn down by ordinary flu. You can also talk to your doctor about anti-viral drugs.

After you're back

Upon your return to Canada, there are still more steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of introducing avian flu to a feathery flock.

  • If you're thinking of bringing any birds or poultry products into the country, such as feathers or meats, make sure they are eligible for entry.
  • When entering Canada, be sure to declare any animal products you have brought with you. Failing this, you could be fined or prosecuted.
  • If you've returned from a country with active cases of avian flu, or if you've been in close contact with live birds while abroad, avoid poultry farms for a couple of weeks after you come back to Canada.
  • Wash up! Thoroughly clean your hands, body, and clothing. Don't forget your footwear. Be sure to scrub away any soil or droppings.
  • If you get sick, see your doctor. Be sure to mention that you've been travelling outside the country.

As long as you take these simple and sensible precautions, there's no reason right now to put off your dream vacation. But do be warned: In the event of a flu pandemic, travel may be restricted. And our government's ability to assist the 2.5 million Canadians who are travelling or living abroad at the time may be limited.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Avian-Flu-Facts-What-You-Need-to-Know