According to WHO (World Health Organization);
Influenza A(H1N1) has already been confirmed in many parts of the world. The global response now focuses on minimizing the impact of the virus through the rapid identification of cases, and providing patients with appropriate medical care, rather than on stopping its spread internationally.
Although identifying signs and symptoms of influenza in travellers can help track the path of the outbreak, it will not reduce the spread of influenza, as the virus can be transmitted from person to person before the onset of symptoms.
Scientific research based on mathematical modelling shows that restricting travel would be of limited or no benefit in stopping the spread of disease. Historical records of previous influenza pandemics, as well as experience with SARS, validate this.
Here is how you can prevent or lower the risk of getting H1N1 while travelling..
1. Wash hands often. The best way to prevent the swine flu on the ground is the best way to prevent it in the airplane too. Use warm water and rub hands vigorously for twenty seconds (ataupun Cawan cakap, kena nyanyi lagu hepi besday sebanyak 2 kali, time cuci tuh). Don't forget to wash between fingers and under finger nails.
2. Bring an alcohol based hand sanitizer containing at least fifty percent alcohol to use when the restrooms are busy. E.g Dettol Sanitizer, available in Guardian/Watson or any supermarket.
3. Bring antibacterial wipes, and wipe down the tray table, arm rests and other surfaces that come in contact with your body. E.g Dettol Wipes, available in Guardian/Watson or any supermarket.
4. Bring your own blanket and pillow when traveling on longer flights. Airlines don't clean their blankets very often, and it is a good idea to bring a blanket even after the swine flu threat is a thing of the past.
5. Use the natural stress relieving, antibacterial and antiviral properties of essential oils to your advantage. Scent your blanket and pillow with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Dab a few drops of lavender essential oil on your wrist and behind your ears, and keep a cotton ball doused with essential oils in your purse. Essential oils of lavender, rosemary, cinnamon bark, lemon, clove, and peppermint are considered to be good for respiratory problems.
6. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water for the entire length of the flight. Drinking water keeps the mucus membranes in the nose and throat moist and better equipped to fight viruses and bacteria. A 2004 study published in the journal of environmental health research concluded that low humidity in an airplane cabin was the prime cause for susceptibility to common colds and the flu after air travel.
7. Use a nasal saline mist as needed to hydrate nasal tissues. The low cabin humidity makes the nasal membranes dry out quickly. Eg: Rhinocort Aqua, available in Guardian pharmacy jugak. but you have to request it over the counter @ RM 56.00.
8. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and sodas containing caffeine on the flight to prevent dehydration.
9. Turn the overhead air vent to low, and position it in front of your face. Dr. Mark Gendreau, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Tufts university says that doing so improves ventilation in your seat and may prevent viruses from landing on your face.
10. Use a mouthwash to kill germs in the mouth as an additional layer of protection.
11. Work on strengthening immune system to fight the H1N1 virus before and after air travel by eating a nutritionally sound diet, exercising and taking a quality multivitamin.
12. Avoid crowded places.
13. Research – Look for more information on the Swine flu to get additional education. During your trip, observe and follow the rules from the health authorities.