Spread of H1N1 virus from Mexico to around the world has been dramatic and faster turn around than any other disease so far, at least on a global scale. Thousands of people travel by aero plane each day, crossing the continents. For those who have travelled a lot must have experienced some discomfort due to air circulation in the planes, especially if you are prone to allergies. I and some of my friends have had problem, especially if the seat is at the back, near the rest rooms.
One of my colleagues travelled from Europe to US and he got a bad cold. His reason was the air circulation in the plane was not appropriate. Generally, the air flow system in planes is designed in such a way that the air flows across the rows of seats instead of flowing from front to back. In combination of fresh air, used air is re-circulated through air filter. These measures should help in minimizing the spread of viruses such as H1N1, but nothing is fool proof. In fact, Airtran spokesman, Christopher White said that “Going on a plane is no less safe than going to church, going to work, going to school.” James Bennett, a research engineer for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health said that “Contaminants, such as the small droplets emitted by a cough, do move to other areas of the cabin”.
Travelers are becoming cautious day by day and some of them carry sanitizer with them. There are travelers wipe their hand and the surface they touch with the sanitizer as an extra precaution, especially if they are travelling with their kids. ABC news chief medical Editor Dr. Tim Johnson had five useful tips to minimize exposure and maintain your family’s health. Let us take a look at those tips, I found them quite interesting and useful:
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- You can request change of seat, if the person sitting besides you has bad cough or is sneezing due to cold.
- Face mask may be good to carry. If you are bored of monotonous N95 face mask, try one of the fancy art on the mask.
- Carry alcohol based hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial wipes
- Carry your own pillow and blanket. That means you will be carrying whole lot of luggage if you are traveling with your family
- Drink bottled water. I guess most of the planes do not allow you to carry water in planes, I think you can still buy after checking in.
Dr. Johnson does provide some useful tips. He also advises to constantly wash your hand, but with your sanitizer rather than bathroom in the planes. Surfaces in the plane bathroom can be contaminated. Stay away from people who might be sick and if you are sick, avoid travel. The tips may seem very simple, but you must have experienced that at times simple things in life can have big impact. I hope you will take general precautions during your travel.