H1N1 Swine Flu – Travel Safety
The latest outbreak of the H1N1 flu first occurred in April of the year 2009 in the country of Mexico and quickly spread to the United States and other countries. In June of that same year, the “WHO” or “World Health Organization” officially declared the H1N1 virus a pandemic as it had become a global epidemic with confirmed reports of the virus in seventy four countries. Today, the majority of the Worlds countries have confirmed cases of infections from the H1N1 virus, therefore, it is essential for those individuals who travel to take precautionary measures to protect themselves as best that they can from becoming infected with this virus. In this medical guide on the H1N1 flu, you will learn what precautions you can take while traveling that can help you to avoid contracting this illness.
Planning your Trip
When planning your trip you should be sure to check on the current situation in regards to the H1N1 virus as well as any other health related issues in the area of your destination. Many countries now screen individuals upon arrival for any indication of flu-like symptoms in an attempt to reduce the spreading of H1N1. You may be required to have your temperature checked by a scanning device or thermometer and asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding your health. There are different methods and regulations regarding these procedures for different countries or destinations, therefore, you should ensure that you find out what the screening procedures are for your particular destination.
In some countries you may be quarantined if it is suspected that you have the H1N1 virus and you should be aware of the fact that if you are traveling from the United States to another country the US has no influence over these screening procedures or the number of days that you may be required to spend quarantined. You should also ensure that you check with your local or government health department and make sure that you are up to date on any vaccinations that you should have or may be required for your destination.
Precautions to take while Traveling and upon Returning Home
It is essential to wash your hands as frequently as possible – especially when traveling – by using plenty of soap and warm water when available and be sure to take along anti-bacterial wash cloths or alcohol-based hand rub in case soap and water are unavailable. It is a known fact that due to low levels of humidity on airplanes there is a higher risk for contracting viruses as well as the common cold. This low level of humidity causes the mucus in our throat and noses to “dry up” which is the body’s natural defense to germs, therefore, using nasal sprays or mists and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help to reduce your chances of becoming sick.
When traveling you should also be sure and pack plenty of tissue and have it readily available for when you cough or sneeze and always cover your nose and mouth ensuring that you dispose of the tissue in waste basket when done. Always be aware of any individuals in your immediate surroundings that may be ill and avoid coming into contact with them. When you reach your destination continue to monitor the status of any health issues that may be affecting your area through the local government or health authorities. Upon returning home, it is important that you monitor your health closely for a period of seven days and obtain medical attention if you experience any severe flu-like symptoms.