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When Pigs Fly: Airline Travel and Swine Flu

With schools across the nation back in session, from universities to the elementary grades, swine flu cases are on the rise. This H1N1 virus spreads more quickly among children, teens, and young adults, but reported cases have been mild.

However, this uptick in cases indicates that flu season is coming early, and back-to-school season also means travel season for the business class. If you're flying soon, should you be worried about catching the flu? Read more to find out.

Infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner told the CBS Morning Show that we all shouldn't be afraid to fly, but he warned that if you're sick you should stay off a plane. Dr. Shaffner explained that a frequent flier's best defense against the flu is to get vaccinated, and when the vaccine for the swine flu becomes available later this Fall, to get that too. Common sense practices apply as well. Wash your hands frequently and avoid travelers who are coughing a lot. While the latter might be difficult on a crowded flight, the recycled air on many planes is run through a high-efficiency filter, which takes out many of the germs. Plus, air is recirculated in segments, so you are not breathing air that has been exposed to the entire plane. Also expect a shortage of in-flight blankets and pillows; many airlines have removed them as a precaution against spreading the virus.

Keep washing your hands. Remember to cough into your elbow. Hopefully we will all stay well this cold and flu season. My instincts tell me that with two kids in school and a husband traveling a bunch for work, I will stay healthy through a viral season when pigs fly.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
fda153 fda153 7 years
ok i ll check it out but i need to know some thing about it i travel a lot mostly i get hire Dumont limo and taxi when i leave through newark airport and i talk with them they told me these planes are not as good as some other airlines have same thing i come to know from the Bergen county taxi and limo guy. so is it true or not?
cheehard cheehard 7 years
yes i agreed Asche, planes are more secure than public place, but when ever you go with your planes you must check out the auto parts of your plane
Asche Asche 7 years
I've been told that planes are actually much safer than any public place because the air is filtered and recirculated so frequently.
onthebus onthebus 7 years
I'm flying tomorrow but I'm not concerned.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
are people seriously scared of this still??
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