Travel Amid the Swine Flu Pandemic

Travel Amid the Swine Flu Pandemic
The swine flu, formally known as the H1N1 influenza virus, has been linked to at least two deaths so far in the United States. One person who died reportedly suffered from a number of other illnesses. However, the swine flu has been said to be the defining factor that led to that person’s death. This news comes amid other reports from the Centers for Disease Control that schools nationwide should use their discretion in suspending classes in the event of a suspected case of swine flu among the student body.

Such news should give travelers pause. Whether traveling from overseas to the United States, from California to Washington, DC, or from Pittsburgh, PA to Philadelphia, PA, everyone should consider a few travel alternatives and heed the precautions below.

These days, money- and health-conscious travelers may want to consider daytripping closer to their own area. The swine flu is all over the country, but staying closer to home may not only help keep you from contracting the flu, but may also help to contain it.

If you already live and/or work in a major metropolitan area like Baltimore or Martinsburg, WV, consider taking a vacation at one of the local spots in that area. For relaxing getaways right in your own backyard, consider booking a few nights a local bed and breakfast or at an upscale hotel with spa service.

If roughing it is more your speed, think about camping or hiking in a nearby park. The National Park Service offers a number of free tours and events in local parks that are well suited for youngsters and those travelers who are more history- and science-oriented. Consider these a unique, and free, alternative to spending summer vacation at a theme park.

The most recent news indicates that a vaccine for the swine might be available soon in the fall. However, good hand washing, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and just staying away from others who are healthy if you are sick are good preventative measures in the meantime.

Proper hand washing consists of 20 seconds of rubbing ones hands together with soap under hot running water. One caution, though, is that prolonged hand washing can cause dryness. So, when you’re traveling, remember to carry travel sized lotion in your pocket or bag.

When you cannot find proper facilities to wash your hands, turn to hand wipes or liquid hand sanitizing gel. These now come in convenient, pocket-sized quantities. So when traveling, consider placing two or three pre-wrapped hand wipes or a small bottle of sanitizer and a travel-sized bottle of lotion in a little packet together for easy retrieval.

The swine flu pandemic does not have to bring your travels to a close as long you maintain an open mind about your own responsibility maintaining good health. Following some of these tips can help.

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