Influenza is the most common vaccine preventable illness in travellers. This is due to travel in large groups to tourist areas with exposure to people from all over the world, as well as the lack of influenza programs in developing countries. Vaccination should be strongly considered, especially if travelling in the influenza season and if travel is in large groups due to air travel, cruise ships or bus tours.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is more than just a bad cold. It is caused by a highly contagious virus that is spread by fluids produced during coughing and sneezing or by direct contact with those fluids on surfaces. Flu can occasionally lead to serious complications, including death. Older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical condition are more likely to develop serious complications such as pneumonia as a result of the flu. However it is now accepted that everyone can benefit from influenza vaccination.
Vaccination is recommended at least 2 weeks prior to travel and does not give you the flu. It can however, cause you to experience aches and pains or a fever for a day or two after vaccination.