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The flu can put a damper on your travel plans

Company sick time policies vary. In some places,

Company sick time policies vary. In some places, employees are penalized in their raises for taking even a day. (Undated) Credit: iStock

Flu season typically coincides with the busiest travel period of the year, and last season that spelled trouble for more than 3 million U.S. vacationers whose travel plans were messed up by flu-related illness, according to Walgreens' Flu Impact Report, released today. Part of the survey examines the effects of influenza on people's everyday lives, including vacations, holidays, social engagements and sporting events.

"The one constant when it comes to flu season is that it's unpredictable, and flu activity can generally peak any time between October and April in the U.S.," according to Cheryl Pegus, Walgreens' chief medical officer. Naturally, Walgreens is using the study to promote the need for flu shots, which -- full disclaimer -- I have never had.

Last flu season, based on the survey's projections, influenza may have had an impact on millions of life events, including more than 3 million vacations canceled or interrupted.

So while you might consider travel insurance, the point of the survey appears to be to encourage flu shots, which also would be expected to spare you the body aches, muscle pain, headache and fatigue that insurance can't.

I became ill while vacationing on Oahu a few years ago. It wasn't the flu -- and fortunately, the malady only lasted about 12 hours -- but I can understand how getting sick can mess up a trip. I loaded up on Zicam and went to bed while my family enjoyed Waikiki. And I was lucky: When I woke up, I was cured. Similarly, my younger daughter Julia started running a fever in Paris. While I panicked that our week there would go by with sights unseen, she, too, made a miraculous recovery by the next morning.

Have you ever gotten sick while on vacation? Tell us what you did and how your trip was affected in the comments field below.


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