With the travel season upon us, millions of people will be traveling to spend time with friends and family. During high travel times, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, modes of transportation, such as buses and airplanes, will be crawling not only with people hustling to get to their loved ones, but with millions of bacteria and viruses itching to ruin your holidays.
This travel season could potentially be the most severe and harmful in terms of picking up a sickness with the H1N1 virus spreading like wildfire in the U.S.
The swine flu has infected an estimated 22 million Americans, hospitalized about 98,000 and killed more than 4,000 since it first hit the U.S. in April, according to a recent report. With people traveling all around the country, the holiday season will most likely show a spike in the number of cases of the virus.
In 2003, one passenger on a flight from Hong Kong to Beijing infected 22 other people on the plane with Severe Acute Respiratory Virus (SARS), a respiratory disease in humans that reached a near pandemic between November 2002 and July 2003. Five of the infected passengers died as a result.
Passengers on airplanes are particularly susceptible to picking up illnesses because the ventilation systems in airplanes recirculate air.
The CDC reiterates health tips that we’ve heard from our mothers countless times, including traveling only when feeling well, getting vaccinated for the flu, washing hands often and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
While these tips might seem redundant, small efforts such as these could up your chances of avoiding the flu this season.