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Swine Flu Is Up In UK

The latest on the Swine Flu in the UK concerns me. I read online that the airports there are screening people who are arriving into the UK. Are any of you concerned enough to change travel plans over this? Swine flu is everyplace, so I don't think I'll change my plans. Hope it wont be too much worse in the fall when I'm going to London. I'm going to Paris too, but the Swine flu didn't hit Paris as badly as the UK according to what I read online.

Posted by
582 posts

Thank you for the suggestions. I will do the same, and will try not to worry about it too much.

Posted by
3580 posts

I'll be traveling to London and Bath in September. I'm concerned about getting sick. I may limit my use of the Tube and try to stay out of other crowded situations. We have swine flu here, too, so maybe it isn't much different. I plan to use antiseptic wipes for surfaces in the plane and my hotel room--phones, remotes, armrests, switch plates, doorknobs, etc.

Posted by
2030 posts

I too am going to London and Paris in a month. I've been monitoring the swine flu news on the Times of London and Guardian websites. Like Swan, I plan to bring plenty of antiseptic wipes and use them often -- keep my hands as clean as possible. I'm healthy, so I'm just going to follow the suggestions posted by the WHO and hope for the best.

Posted by
32245 posts

Lisa,

I don't have any travel plans at the moment, but I wouldn't be worried in the least about the "Swine Flu" and wouldn't let it change my travels AT ALL. The previous outbreak took place when I went to Europe at the end of May, but I wasn't concerned then either.

One interesting point. On the flight to Europe, the Flight Attendants provided all passengers with a one-page form that had to be filled out prior to landing. The form contained a few questions about recent health history and requested a list of Hotels that passengers would be staying at for 10-day after arrival. I believe the reason for the form, was that if any passenger became ill, they'd be able to track those on the same flight easily. That was on a flight to France, so I'm not sure if U.K. authorities have the same requirement?

A few facts on the most recent Swine Flu situation in the U.K. (from a recent NHS bulletin):

- Under 14-year-olds continue to be the age group predominantly affected.

  • The disease is generally mild in most people so far, but is proving severe in a small minority of cases.

I'd face the same risk at home, so I'm not worried at all about travelling. Of course, it's always a good idea to follow the normal precautions - frequent hand washing, etc.

Cheers!

Posted by
582 posts

Thank you Ken for all the information.
I read online that recently a baby died in the UK and a 70 year old, and two were only in their 30's, but had a medical condition before having the flu.
As far as I know, I'm in good health and am a spunky middle aged woman!
Thanks again for the replies!

Posted by
345 posts

I'm in London right now.

I've seen a grand total of one person wearing a face mask on the tube. People are still cramming in at rush hour as they ever do. There are a fair amount of sensationalistic headlines, but doesn't really seem to be general concern on the streets. The tube is full, theatres are full, etc. Those with pre-existing conditions should be more concerned, but for the average person, it just seems to be nasty flu.

I HAVE heard that they're screening on planes, and I had a bus driver the other day that didn't like how much someone was coughing... but really nothing serious.

Eat your fruits and veggies, wash your hands, and things should be okay.

Posted by
10344 posts

For the purpose of keeping flu viruses out of your body, while traveling, IMH & non-medical O, regular handwashing is going to be more effective than a whole bunch of fruit & vegetables.

Posted by
345 posts

Fruits and veggies are part of being healthy and having a good immune system. Antioxidents and all that. Are they more important than washing your hands? No. But in terms of health while traveling, as people frequently change their eating patterns while on holiday? Yes. Water intake too, be it in whatever form. Dehydration weakens your body.

Having a healthy system in optimal shape (as in, not spending all your time hung over, lol) helps to fight off infections.

Posted by
495 posts

The thing to remember here is how the disease spread. It started in Mexico, spread up through the southern US and only later did it spread to the UK (both Mexico and the US are very popular holiday destinations for us.)

It may sound very worrying if you read our papers but do you remember the American press a month or so ago? It was panic, panic, panic, the sky was falling and you were all going to die!!!! I'm assuming American society didn't collapse in the end? The UK is behind the US in our levels of swine flu so while your press have had their "Henny Penny" phase and have moved on to other things ours are still in that initial flush of scaremongering to sell papers. Give it a few weeks and they'll be onto something else.

Posted by
12172 posts

It's still not deadly compared to most flu viruses even though it's getting a lot of press.

The 1918 virus (a "cousin" of this one) had a non-deadly wave in the Spring and a deadly wave in the Fall. The biggest worry right now is that pattern will repeat itself but it hasn't happened yet.

I saw one stat that obese people were most at risk from the virus. But that could easily have been media sensationalizing stuff.

If you are at all concerned, check out the latest information at http://www.cdc.gov/
The bottom right of the website has a link to H1N1 Swine flu.

Posted by
2193 posts

Seasonal influenza is responsible for about 40,000 deaths in the U.S. alone every year, while this new virus has been attributed to about 700 worldwide since last fall. I seem to recall that Bird Flu, SARS, and West Nile were also going to eradicate the human species. And, the New Yorker recently reminded us of the Parrot Flu scare of 1930, which threatened to destroy the human race (33 deaths nationwide in that case). I think we all just need to keep things in perspective. The media will fuel the hysteria, because of a need to sell ad time, magazines, newspapers, etc. in order to make profits for executives and shareholders. While I’m not about to change my trip to Spain this fall, I’ll practice the same good health habits I always do: wash hands, use hand sanitizer, eat and drink well, get enough sleep, etc. If we start dropping by the millions, I may revisit my plans. For now, I'm going to take my chances.

Posted by
15568 posts

I think the best thing you can do when traveling is wear the same protective suits the authorities wear when dealing with hazardous waste. Nothing can get through.

My only concern is will I blend in with the locals or will they spot me as a tourist? And can I wear that outfit when visiting churches?

Posted by
10344 posts

Frank II: Reports from reports in the field indicate, yes, you can wear the virus-proof outfit even in the churches in Italy with the strictest dress code, St Peters (Rome) and St Mark's (Venice), because your shoulders and knees are covered.

Posted by
2349 posts

Kent, fruits and veggies help very much in the spread of flu viruses. You put a grape in each nostril, and an orange wedge in your mouth and you are all set. You can carry a carrot to push the elevator buttons.

Posted by
881 posts

The CDC (I think it was them) just came out with an estimate that 40pct of people in the US will get swine flu eventually, so.... don't know that the UK could ad much more than that.

I would get trip insurance if you're concerned.

Posted by
425 posts

Most of my family and friends are in England. None of them have "swine flu". BBC TV news the other day said that more people are dying from ordinary flu than "swine flu". No-one in this part of France is even discussing it.

Roger

www.fermedecandeloup.fr

Posted by
421 posts

ya I was kind of wondering about this as well given I am traveling in October. I am hoping that things don't get worse. But at the same time I think just staying healthy before you leave and just taking a few extra precautions will be helpful.

Posted by
10344 posts

Karen: Thank you for clarifying (4 posts up) the exact way in which fresh fruits and vegetables provide contemporaneous defense against swine flu:

"Fruits and veggies help very much in the spread of flu viruses. You put a grape in each nostril, and an orange wedge in your mouth and you are all set. You can carry a carrot to push the elevator buttons."

Posted by
324 posts

The new flu, now being called "Type A" by the Spanish media, is a daily part of our dose of fear -- without the flu and ETA (Basque "terrorists") on the news, the government would be forced to come up with real ideas for real problems. I think that I've seen a couple of people on the metro, wearing masks, school kids will get vaccinated this fall, etc. but the reality is that in Spain this summer, more people have died in swimming pool accidents than due to the flu. So, wash your hands, get those veggies up in your nostrils, and stay away from the pool!

Posted by
2193 posts

Adynata: Your insider tip is indeed very interesting and definitely worth knowing about…thanks for sharing. I find the history of the Civil Guard sort of intriguing, especially when one looks at the makeup and mission of the force today and considers that it was originally founded by Basque aristocrats and later became a useful instrument for Franco against dissidents. While I wasn’t referencing any particular incident, I certainly agree that loss of life in these ETA attacks is very unfortunate. It’s probably best to avoid anything that may look like joking around with this kind of news in the media.

Swine flu, on the other hand, deserves a few (vegetable) jokes.

Posted by
2193 posts

So, I should probably cancel my plans to tour Civil Guard offices as part of my upcoming vacation in Spain? :)

Posted by
365 posts

Don't pet any pigs and you'll all be fine. Common sense, people.

Posted by
324 posts

Michael: If you're referring to the bombing this afternoon, no, it would probably be best to stay away from the Guardia Civil. (My heartfelt sympathy, by the by, goes out to the families of the two murdered Guardias.)

If, however, you're not being facetious, someday you might find it handy to know that many small towns without official places to put up travelers (e.g. hostales, pensiones or hoteles) will be able to place tourists overnight in some sort of an emergency shelter, frequently the former "cuartel" (barracks), if it has been closed down. This is particularly handy if your car breaks down, or you get caught out by a surprise rainstorm. Should you need such a thing, just ask in any bar where the "alcalde" (mayor) lives. He's the man with the discretionary funds (and the keys, usually) for such occasions. Small town Spanish hospitality is amazing.

Posted by
83 posts

I am fairly concerned that swine flu (called La Grippe A in France) will become a serious issue here in the autumn. The government has really geared up for it, with masks to be available at pharmacies, plans for school closings, slow-down of public transport, etc. The vaccine is on order, but I don't think it is available yet. The French press is doing a good job educating us about this. Unfortunately it has also scared a few of us too.

Posted by
421 posts

yikes lets not hope not I will be in paris, italy and uk in October

Posted by
324 posts

Michael, the Guardia Civil is a military force, and as such owes its allegiance to the government in power. While there were certainly some bad apples during the dark days of Franco, those members of the force I've met have been proud defenders of a democratic government. This is similar to the pride and support we may feel for members of the US armed forces who are doing their duty in a detestable and foolish war.

I'm of two minds on the humor issue -- if we can't laugh about life and all its wacky variables, we give up a valuable part of our freedom to the "terrorist du jour", yet some things just don't seem appropriate joke material; especially if we've got as juicy a topic as something called "swine flu" on the table.