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For Immediate Release: February 2, 2010
Contact: CDC Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Everyone Wins at the Olympic Winter Games with Healthy Travel Preparations

Sports fans attending the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympics Games in Vancouver, Canada, in February can be winners if they make plans now to help stay healthy during their trip. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers some simple tips to help travelers share gold medal memories – but  not the flu – at the games.

Teamwork will be the key to everyone enjoying a healthy experience at the Olympic and Paralympic games. You can help in the fight to control the flu’s spread by remembering to “Stop, Wash and Go:”

  • Stop: Make sure you feel well before traveling. If you have the flu or have flu-like symptoms, delay your travel plans until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Wash: Help prevent the spread of the flu by covering your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper sleeve and wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Go: If you are healthy and taking the appropriate precautions, go – and have a great time..

“Successful Olympic athletes will tell you it’s not enough to know the rules of the game. To win gold, they must devote themselves to training and preparing and make sure they have the right equipment,” said Dr. Gary Brunette, lead of CDC’s Traveler’s Health Branch. “It’s much the same for Olympic travelers who want to get the most out of their trip. By preparing well and taking along the necessary items for healthy travel, Olympic spectators can be sure to stay healthy and have fun.”

Before leaving for the games, talk with your doctor about how to stay healthy while traveling and whether you should get vaccinated against seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1 flu if you haven’t already received them. Contact your health insurance provider to learn the extent of your medical coverage outside the United States and consider getting travel insurance if your plan doesn’t cover international travel. Do some research before you go on flu prevention and health recommendations for travel to Canada at these Web sites: www.flu.gov and www.cdc.gov/travel.

Travelers should pack the right equipment, including a travel health kit to help keep important medications with you on your trip. Flu prevention can be travel-sized. Your kit can include alcohol-based hand sanitizer, tissues, and pain and fever medicines. You can find additional CDC recommendations for your travel health kit at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2010/chapter-2/travel-health-kits.aspx. Also, be sure to take the right clothes. Dress in layers, including – if you’re outside in the damp – a waterproof outer layer. Protect your body from heat loss and cold weather with hats, scarves, and waterproof, insulated boots and gloves.

By following these simple recommendations, you can bring home winning memories of a lifetime. To learn more about healthy travel, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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