But before I go, I am going to pack some flat fold N95 face masks, hand sanitizer, and some other goodies to try to be well when I get to my destination.  Airlines have taken notice of the threat of H1N1 virus and stocked up on disposable medical gloves, alcohol wipes and face masks, as well as more frequent cleanings of surfaces in an effort to keep germs from spreading.  Katherine Andrus, assistant general counsel for Air Transportation Association says air on planes is probably cleaner than in most enclosed spaces, as air systems are designed to minimize the risk of germs spreading.  Air flows across rows of seats instead of front to back, and is constantly changed with combinations of fresh air and circulated air going through several filters.

Dr. Tim Johnson, ABC News chief medical editor offers these five tips for persons traveling by plane:

1.    If a person next to you is coughing or sneezing, ask to switch seats, if possible.

2.    Take a face mask.

3.    Use alcohol-based sanitizer often, and antibacterial wipes on surfaces.

4.    Bring your own pillow and blanket.

5.    Bring your water and stay hydrated.

Be alert to people who may be sick, and keep your distance.  If you are sick, stay home.

Which brings us to another topic:  why not be ready for this or the regular flu bug, just in case?  If you get sick, you don’t need (or won’t feel like) a shopping trip for things you will need to fight it.  Also, you won’t be exposing others to your germs.  Here’s some suggestions for you to stock up on, just in case:

  • Cough medicine, in case what you already have is out of date.
  • Gatorade, or other drinks to replace electrolytes.
  • Fever reducer, such as ibuprophen, aspirin or acetaminophen
  • Soup
  • Other non-caffeine drinks for hydration
  • If you have children, be sure their medicines are not out of date

Whether you are traveling, working out in the public, or staying at home, we hope this winter will bring good health to you and yours.  Just pay closer attention this time, as there’s a new bug lurking, and until the vaccine is ready, do all you can to stay well.