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How To Avoid Catching Swine Flu on Public Transportation

Reduce the risk of catching swine flu on a plane, train, or bus with these precautions.


  • Step 1: Wear a disposable face mask if you must be in a crowded, closed space in an outbreak area. Look for ones labeled surgical, dental, medical procedure, isolation, or laser mask. This means they're FDA-approved to protect from penetration by blood and body fluids.
  • TIP: If your mask is uncomfortable and difficult to breathe through, you're wearing it correctly.
  • Step 2: If you become ill outside the country in which you reside, seek help from your nation's embassy or consulate.
  • FACT: A study found nearly undetectable influenza particle levels after hands contaminated with influenza were washed with either soap and water or a hand sanitizer containing at least 50 percent alcohol.
  • Step 3: Keep as much distance as possible from others: Swine and other flus spread when the respiratory droplets of an infected person enter your body, which can happen if someone coughs or sneezes on you.
  • Step 4: Don't touch your face. If the virus gets on your hands and then you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, you could infect yourself.
  • Step 5: If you can walk instead of taking a bus or subway, do so, even if it's just part of the way. Open windows when possible; the virus spreads most easily in close quarters.
  • Step 6: Wash your hands often, and carry a hand sanitizer containing at least 50 percent alcohol to use when you have no access to soap and water.
  • Step 7: Avoid touching shared areas on transportation whenever possible, like armrests, in-flight magazines, hanging straps, and poles. Wash or sanitize your hands afterwards if you do have to touch them. Or consider wearing disposable latex gloves.
  • TIP: Use a tissue or paper towel to open the door when exiting a public restroom.
  • Step 8: If you have symptoms of the flu, swine or otherwise, do everyone a favor – stay home and stay off mass transit.

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