Below you will find recommendations for how
to minimize your risk of becoming infected
with flu, including seasonal flu prevention
and international travel guidelines that will
help you avoid locations and situations where
you might be exposed to avian flu.
Seasonal Flu Prevention
Avian “Bird” Flu
Seasonal Flu Prevention
The following health habits go a long way toward
helping prevent the spread of seasonal flu and
also are effective for the prevention of avian
- Get a seasonal flu shot.
There is no vaccination for the avian flu at this time. However, though the seasonal flu shot does not protect against the avian flu, the vaccination will give you protection from contracting the seasonal flu, which could weaken your immune system, making you more prone to becoming ill from the deadlier avian strain. Visit www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/tab3.html for more information.
- Clean your hands with soap
Washing your hands often will help protect
you from germs. When washing, think about
the song “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to
know how long to wash. Turn off the faucet
with a paper towel, open the door with the paper
towel, and then dispose of the paper towel so you are
not touching contaminated surfaces.
- Use a gel hand sanitizer.
You can use a gel hand sanitizer to cleanse
your hands when there is no visibile dirt.
Germs are often spread when a person touches
something that is contaminated with germs
and then touches his or her eyes, nose,
or mouth. The gel hand sanitizer can
help eliminate the germs.
- Practice good respiratory etiquette.
Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Make sure others around you use tissues properly and dispose of them in the trash can.
- Avoid close contact.
Avoid close contact
with people who are sick. When
you are sick, keep your distance
from others to protect them
from getting sick, too.
as a PDF.
Avian “Bird” Flu Prevention
this time there is no H5N1 bird flu in the United
States. However, measures can be
taken to prevent the spread of bird flu
if it does come to the U.S. Currently, those most at
risk are individuals who travel outside the country.
If you fall into this category, please
follow the guidelines below:
Before your trip outside the United States
- Visit the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) travelers’ health
website at www.cdc.gov/travel to
learn about disease risks in various
- See your doctor and make sure you
have all the shots, medicine, and information
- Take basic first aid and medical supplies,
such as a thermometer and alcohol-based hand
gel to clean your hands.
- Check the CDC Seeking
Health Care Abroad website at www.cdc.gov/travel and the U.S. Department of State website
at travel.state.gov for
information about what to do if you
get sick overseas.
- Make sure that you have a list of
reputable health care centers, and their
addresses, in the country to which you
- Visit the University Risk Management website for additional international travel information and guidelines.
(Information gathered from CDC traveler’s
health website, www.cdc.gov/travel)
While traveling outside the U.S.
- Avoid all direct contact with poultry,
including touching well-appearing, sick, or
dead chickens and ducks. Avoid places such
as poultry farms and bird markets where live
poultry are raised or kept, and avoid handling
surfaces contaminated with poultry feces or
- As with other infectious illnesses,
one of the most important preventive practices
is careful and frequent hand washing. Cleaning
your hands often with soap and water removes
potentially infectious material from your
skin and helps prevent disease transmission.
Waterless alcohol-based hand gels may be used
when soap is not available and hands are not
- All foods from poultry, including
eggs and poultry blood, should be cooked
thoroughly. Egg yolks should not be runny or
liquid. Because influenza viruses are destroyed
by heat, the cooking temperature for poultry
meat should be 74°C (165°F)
- If you become sick with symptoms such as a fever accompanied by a cough, sore throat, or difficulty breathing and you have had contact with poultry or contact with a confirmed avian flu case,
a U.S. consular officer can assist you in
locating medical services and informing your
family or friends. Inform your health care
provider of any possible exposures to avian
influenza. See the CDC Seeking
Health Care Abroad in Health Information
for International Travel website for more information about what to
do if you become ill while abroad. You should
defer further travel until you are free
of symptoms, unless traveling locally for
medical care. You need to inform your airline if you are concerned about having contracted avian flu.
- Travelers' Health Automated Information
Line: 877-FYI-TRIP (toll
(For information about ordering the Yellow
Book and International Certificates of Vaccination
and recorded messages on travel-related health
After your return from traveling outside the
- Monitor your health for 10 days.
- If you become ill with a fever plus
a cough, sore throat, or trouble breathing
during this 10-day period, consult a health
- Before you visit a health care setting,
tell the provider the following: 1) your symptoms,
2) where you traveled, and 3) if you have
had direct contact with poultry or close contact
with a severely ill person. This way, the
health care provider can be aware if you
have traveled to an area reporting avian influenza
and provide care accordingly.
- Do not travel while ill, unless you
are seeking medical care. Limiting contact
with others as much as possible can help prevent
the spread of any infectious illness.
- Wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
as a PDF.