Take all preventive measures including buying the best mask affordable. They might not work perfectly in a closed environment such as planes where air is frequently re-circulated (Biden was smart). Being a senior, I took a chance to fly to New Jersey to an area where the Swine flu was awful, but I did not catch it.
Remember Swine Flu can pass through the air more easily in winter than in summer based on recent studies. The air is drier in winter including homes.
Take the swine flu vaccine even though you think vaccines are bad. Vaccines prevent hospitalizations. People get pneumonia in hospitals. That is how my father died.
We have adults running our government after a huge destruction by Bush/Cheney of the FEMA, CDC, FDA, and veterans hospital, and public hospitals by allowing takeovers by corporations, and withdrawing funds for the rich and war. Republicans don't seem to know how to govern, but they sure know how to destroy the benefits of government for all of us.
Read John W. Dean, a Goldwater Republican, "Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches. Also he wrote the very revealing books "Conservatives Without Conscience and Worse than Watergate."
Most of the press/media directs you to the CDC website for the so-called Swine Flu at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/, but for most of my readers the wikipedia website is probably the most helpful although it does get technical in some of its aspects. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Influenza_A_virus_subtype_H1N1
Humans gave the Swine Flu to Pigs in Mexico which started in Wisconsin. (Garrett Newsweek) I call it Bird Flu because that is the component our immune system reacts so violently too. When the virus changes it could become more mild or more virulent or remain basically the same. We do not know.
Information from the press/media can be both confusing and contradictory with stories varying from similar in infection rates to regular flu to three times more infectious. Just using common sense, it must be much more infectious because most of the "summer" transmission must come from getting flu samples on our hands and touching our nose or eyes. Even though the mouth is mentioned a lot, I doubt this is a major source of contamination although theoretically possible. We rub our eyes nose much more than we think we do.
Carry alcohol based sanitizer such as Purell in the smaller size or else you can carry alcohol soaked pads in individual sealed packages which I have been doing for years. I think that people pick up germs after they wash their hands in a public bathroom by opening the doors. Carry the paper towel you use to dry your hands to open the door or use your elbow or body to open the door etc.
In the winter because of normally drier air, we have discovered from recent scientific studies that flu is transported through the air better in winter than in summer. So the major mode of transmission will be through the air. So if many are getting Swine Flu which is really mostly human and bird flu combined and acts more like the 1918 pandemic bird flu which caused a cytokine storm in the lungs and killed the young but not the older folks. The bird flu vaccine will be given to adults 25-64 and not to retired seniors who were exposed to something similar after 1957 pandemic.
Cytokine is produced whenever the body detects what it considers is a foreign body. Younger people and children with stronger immune responses over reacts to the invasion of flu virus to produce a cytokine storm in the lungs which fills the lungs with fluids or what we call pneumonia when bacteria also proliferate.
Many patients died from pneumonia in both the Bird Flu and SARS spread in Asia and in Canada. Only the Chinese seemed to have realized that the immune system had to be ramped down to save the patients by giving them a high dose of cortisone or similar immune suppressant medications such as prednisone. As far as I have read in the press/media, not many American doctors have used this smart technique to save patients.
A similar thing happens with poisoning with e-Coli 0157-H7 where very strong reaction producing a cytokine storm and shuts down the kidneys of children so they have to put on dialysis hopefully saving their kidneys. I have not heard of any doctor trying to ramp down their immune response probably because we all buy into our immune response getting rid of bacteria including most doctors.
Ask your doctor if it is advisable to get Prednisone for Bird Flu (I get a three months supply of 5 mg Prednisone for less than a dollar with insurance, but it is cheap without insurance. Jim)
It seems that the scientists and very intelligent laypersons understand this clearly enough to apply it.
One of the clearest presentation I have read was in my Eugene Register Guard http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/sevendays/19026364-35/story.csp .
Garrett has expressed the cytokine storm view many times, but it does not seem to sink in very well yet. Laurie A. Garrett who has been a awarded many times for her reports on Health is now a Senior Fellow of Global Health, Council On Foreign Relations, an invitation only group of elites largely controlled by corporate executives with some of the brightest politicians, academics, and policy experts whose chief interest is optimizing our economic system by actions overseas. See http://www.charlierose.com/search/?text=Garrett, http://www.newsweek.com/id/195692
Laurie Garrett, reported in Newsweek that the current flu started with a subsequent promiscuous mutation process back in back in 2005 in Wisconsin on a pig farm. Mutation is quite fast in a flu virus because it tends to easily break up into many parts and then recombines and may pick up any DNA in its environment. Pigs often don't get sick but provide an incubation factory for the virus to mutate more and may also pick up some pig RNA. If chickens, turkeys or wild bird are in close proximity, they may infect the pig so the flu has another resource for bird flu.
Many forget that the deadly 1918 flu pandemic killed 100 million people before a large amount of international travel and importation of live animals legally or not did not kill many at first and then went in incubation, probably in a pig, and then a year or so later became the deadly wide-spread bird flu H1N1. The hardest hit were our young soldiers and children. (100 million for a population of 1.8 billion in 1918 or est 377 million now minus those saved with better medical care and anti-virals and anti-bacterials. plus more travel for people, birds and pigs.)
My chief worry is that many are not going to take the vaccine because a large number of people did not die. The thing you have to rely on is not to get so sick you need hospital care which after the Reagan and Republican years of predatory capitalism no longer have beds and respirators to accommodate us if we have a deadly pandemic with many hospitalization.
So we have to do all we can to prevent hospitalization. The best chance we have is to take the flu vaccine which will help a lot or less if the virus mutates greatly. Remember in 1918 young children and adults were the ones who died in great excess compared to seniors, the victims in regular flu, especially those over 65. Remember the CYTOKINE STORM!
Jim Kawakami, August 25, 2009, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com