Air Travel Guidelines are Needed to Prevent Flu's Spread.
Dr KK Aggarwal
India needs to announce flu prevention guidelines for airline travel. American Medical association has already framed their guideline on June 16 at its annual meeting held from June 13 to 17 in Chicago.
1. The confined nature of air travel raises the risk of influenza's spread.
2. It supports efforts to develop airline travel guidelines to help keep the flu -- including H1N1 swine flu -- from spreading.
3. If you must travel to an area that has reported cases of H1N1 flu (swine flu), stay informed. Follow local public health guidelines, including any movement restrictions and prevention recommendations.
4. Be aware that India is checking all exiting airline passengers for signs of H1N1 flu (swine flu). Exit screening may cause significant delays at airports.
5. The country should adopt policy of entry check also. As it?s the entry which causes the spread of illness to the fellow passengers.
6. Do not illegally import swine flu in the country by consuming drugs to help stop flu symptoms for a few hours. Drugs like anti allergics, steroids, pain killers, anti fever drugs, nasal anti allergic drops and anti cough syrups can all cover the symptoms for a few hours.
7. Antiviral medications for the prevention of H1N1 flu (swine flu) should be considered for travelers going to Mexico who are at high risk of severe illness from influenza. This would include persons with certain chronic medical conditions, persons aged 65 or older, children younger than 5 years old, and pregnant women. The recommended antiviral drugs for H1N1 flu (swine flu) are oseltamivir (brand name Tamiflu) nd zanamivir (brand name Relenza). Both are prescription drugs that fight against H1N1 flu (swine flu) by keeping it from reproducing in the body. These drugs can prevent infection if taken as a preventative.
8. Check if your health insurance plan will cover you abroad including for the swine flu. Consider purchasing additional insurance that covers medical evacuation in case you become sick.
9. The Indian embassies, consulates and military facilities may not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or to give medications, vaccines or medical care to private Indian citizens overseas.
Practice healthy habits to help stop the spread of H1N1 flu (swine flu)
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. This removes germs from your skin and helps prevent diseases from spreading.
- Use waterless alcohol-based hand gels (containing at least 60% alcohol) when soap is not available and hands are not visibly dirty.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and put your used tissue in a wastebasket.
- If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
- Wash your hands after coughing or sneezing, using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner (with at least 60% alcohol) when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people (within 6 feet). Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
It is important to follow the advice of local health and government authorities. You may be asked to restrict your movement and stay in your home or hotel to contain the spread of H1N1 flu (swine flu).