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Most Brits 'ignore flu advice'

10 October 2012 09:37

Only 27% of Brits 'covered up' during the swine flu outbreak of 2009

Only 27% of Brits 'covered up' during the swine flu outbreak of 2009

Britons are some of the unhealthiest people to be around during a major outbreak of the flu virus, according to new research. Scientists compared attitudes in the UK, Argentina, Japan, Mexico and the United States after the H1N1 swine flu outbreak three years ago and found that Brits are the most ignorant when it comes to paying attention to the basic rules of hygiene, such as sneezing into a tissue or washing hands.

Around 900 people from each country were polled on how they protected themselves in the midst of a flu epidemic and people from the UK were shown to have the most careless attitude towards infecting others by ignoring advice to take extra care when coughing, sneezing, washing hands, travelling on public transport and keeping away from people displaying flu symptoms.

Only 27% of Britons took precautions to protect others during the swine flu outbreak in 2009 by covering their nose or mouth when coughing or sneezing, compared to 48% in Japan, 61% of Americans, 64% of Argentinians, and 77% of people from Mexico. But sometimes covering up is not enough to prevent illness, which makes medical travel insurance even more crucial when travelling abroad this winter.