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H1N1 Prevention Tips for Southeast Asia Travelers


H1N1 can strike anywhere - not even Southeast Asia is immune. As of press time, the Philippines and Thailand have had outbreaks within their borders, and no country seems safe for now.

However, flu is almost ridiculously easy to avoid, assuming the right precautions are taken. The tips below are intended to prepare the Southeast Asia traveler for an affected country, without getting in the way of the trip itself.

1. Stay informed.

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The H1N1 virus that caused the current pandemic has the potential to mutate rapidly, so up-to-the-minute updates are absolutely essential for your trip. Most well-traveled areas in Southeast Asia have a decent Internet connection, so you can access sites like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's H1N1 Information Page with no trouble. The CDC's page on the virus contains updated information on flu news, travel precautions, and other advice. Watch that space.

2. Keep your hands clean.

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Always wash your hands - use soap and water immediately after coughing or sneezing, or after touching anything or anyone suspect. The CDC recommends you wash with soap and warm water for up to 20 seconds.

When you're on the go, when clean water and soap aren't within easy reach, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be just as effective. You just need to pour this onto your hands and rub until dry. Most urban areas in Southeast Asia have convenience stores that sell handy packets of hand sanitizer, cheap. If you want to bring your own with you, Purell sells an eight-ounce pump bottle that can last you for the whole trip. (compare prices)

3. Sanitize your surroundings.

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As a traveler, you can't always be in control of your surroundings, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. Hand-to-hand spread of viruses may occur when you touch objects that have just been handled by an infected person.

When you're in an uncertain situation, it's time to whip out the wipes, which may happen fairly often; wipe down phones or other objects that have been handled by others. If your wipes come in a citrus scent like these Lysol wipes, all the better. (compare prices)

4. Eat well, sleep well, take your vitamins.

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Keep your immune system strong by getting enough sleep, exercise, water, and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Make sure you're well-rested before any major trip - stress and lack of sleep may increase your susceptibility to the flu virus.

Also in the "can't hurt, might help" department, a serious dose of vitamins may boost your health and prevent flu infection. Supplements like QuantumCold & Flu capsules might confer that margin of protection that could make all the difference.(compare prices)

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