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Stay Safe From The H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu: Public Areas Are Highly Infectious

Updated on April 29, 2009

The only 100% effective way to not be infected by H1N1 is to not come into contact with it in any way. That is not easy in our urban lifestyle.

The average metropolitan commuter comes into infective proximity to well over a thousand people every single day! Frequenters of large public areas such as airports, shopping centres, sports and entertainment venues can come into contact with over 25,000 people. When you consider that even at a relatively early stage in a pandemic situation 5% of all people in your area could be infected and contagious, that means that just going to a football game or concert can put you in the viral crosshairs of 1,250 H1N1 positive individuals. And remember. . . it only takes one!

Although this is clearly an outlandishly extreme precaution, complete safety can only be assured in an H1N1 pandemic through isolation. Now may be the time to make arrangements to stock up your uncle’s old hunting lodge or mountain cottage with plenty of canned, dried and preserved foods, and more bottled water than you would ever think you need. It is likely that the full-blown pandemic will only last a few months. If you can retreat to a very remote location just before the pandemic strikes hard in your geographical area and avoid all contact with any outside people and the types of animals likely to be infected during that time, your chances of contracting H1N1 become zero.

But what about the rest of the population that just can't run off to some isolated cabin in the mountains?

There are some basic precautions you can take in order to increase your chances of staying safe even if you live in an urban area. It is extremely important to shun the types of locations where you are most likely to catch the flu. Generally the more crowded the public location, the more likely it is to catch the virus.

Crowded sports arenas, concert halls, lecture auditoriums and other areas where you are in close proximity to hundreds or thousands of people for hours are obviously risky locations, as are airliners, ships, trains, buses and crowded city streets. However some particular types of retailers also carry great risks of infection.

Fast food restaurants and pubs top the list of infective public retail locations as they have a high turnover of people and the tables are rarely if ever wiped with disinfectant during the day. Needless to say if the dishes, glasses or cutlery looks cloudy or stained, insist that it be replaced with clean ones. During a pandemic it is wise to avoid formal restaurants and eat at home in disposable containers.

Farmers markets pride themselves on the freshness of the produce, but with that comes food that is often dirty, dusty and potentially contaminated. Note that it is not just the type of public location that has an impact upon infection rates, but also the products themselves. A simple run under the kitchen tap does not assure that any infectious agents on that vegetable or fruit have been flushed down the sink. Indeed, a quick rinse can often have no effect on the amount of viral presence on the surface of an edible food!

Continued in:
Stay Safe From The H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu: Food Safety Is Paramount

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    • BristolBoy profile image


      10 years ago from Bristol

      This is a very informative hub and I like the fact that it appears to be part of a massive series. I assume you intend to write more as the situation evolves and may end up getting a lot of traffic. However, I would strongly recommend you add in URL trackers in all of your links to get extra benefit from directing viewers to your other hubs.

    • Hal Licino profile imageAUTHOR

      Hal Licino 

      10 years ago from Toronto

      Thank you Matthew. I appreciate your kind words. By all means hygiene is more important now than ever, but if we look at the spread of H1N1 in just a week or two, it has now reached as far as Israel and New Zealand. This is a very dangerous virus which might just peter out (like many before it) or reach pandemic status. No one can possibly know at this time.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      This is a brilliant article. I do believe we don't have to be overly concerned, but cautious of what is going on. As long as we maintain proper and common-sense health practices, we should be more than alright, espeically considering no one in America or Canada has died yet.

      I can only attribute that to the poor health quality of Mexico.


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