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Big chill not helping with flu virus 

The flu epidemic which has hit the Canary Islands is being linked to sun-starved British tourists bringing in viruses and the marked drop in local temperatures.

Tenerife health resources, including hospitals, have been stretched to the limit and large numbers of visitors have been seeking help from doctors and pharmacies.

Health figures account for 198 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and so far 12 deaths.

Doctors believe there is a direct link to the flu virus and holiday flights which no longer have air filters because of the ban on smoking .

“This means many travellers can actual bring the virus with them and it manifests itself in crowded places,” they say.

Meantime, tourists say symptoms begin to kick in a couple of days after arrival and, in some cases, long-stay visitors complain they have been ill for more than a month.

Chilly nighttime tempera-tures bring a sharp contrast in temperatures.

And Britain’s holiday watchdog, ABTA, told me from their London head-quarters : “Vaccination against influenza is the most effective way of preventing the illness.”

They advise travellers to reduce their risk of exposure to respiratory infections and prevent spreading them by taking these precautions:

· Avoid close contact with symptomatic individuals

· Avoid crowded conditions where possible

· Practise frequent hand washing

· Practise ‘cough hygiene’, sneezing or coughing into a tissueand promptly discarding it safely.

· Avoid travel if unwell with influenza-like symptoms, see your doctor and speak to your travel insurer.

ABTA tell me three main ways to prevent seasonal influenza are good cough and hand hygiene, vaccination, and antiviral medication,