I’m not normally a clean freak but after I had my daughter, I was definitely more cautious about keeping surfaces clean, and became much more vigilant about hand washing. Plain ol’ soap and water is our usual weapon of choice, but when we’re out and about, hand sanitizer does the trick and, of course, wipes. When they’re tiny, you can pretty much control what they touch, but keep an eye out for well-meaning people who fuss and coo AND touch baby’s hands. Why oh why do they do that? Those hands go straight to the mouth so do your best to keep them as clean as you can.
But I digress. This is about flying with babies and young children during H1N1, and we’ve just done it and lived to tell the tale.
An airplane truly is just a flying tube of shared surfaces and recycled air, and have alway been ideal places to pick up a cold or flu virus. It takes just one person to cough into their hand and then take the tray table down for the next passenger in that seat to catch a cold. As gross as it may be to think about, it takes just one person to not wash their hands properly (or at all – GROSS) after using the washroom to open the latch on the overhead bin for the next passenger to get the Norwalk virus.
In all our previous flights, I’ve just maintained our usual regimen of hand-washing/sanitizer using, plus nagging my daughter to keep her hands out of her mouth. This time around, even though I KNOW that catching H1N1 is just as likely as any other thing we’d usually come into contact with on a flight, I was a little freaked out. I specifically went out and purhased anti-bacterial wipes and once we were settled into our seats (no small feat considering Southwest‘s crazy boarding procedure – but that’s another post), I took out the wipes and gave everything a thorough wiping – the armrests, the tray tables, the window shade, everything we’d be likely to touch. Then I gave all of our hands a once over. (Then, because I was worried about the chemicals in the anti-bacterial wipes, I used the baby’s sensitive diaper wipes to go over our hands again).
My husband jokingly mentioned that I was kinda giving off a freaky Howard Hughes-type vibe, but he went along with my anti-bacterial mission.
Do we have H1N1? No – not yet anyway (fingers crossed). Do we all have colds? Yes, in varying degrees but we could have picked them up anywhere. H1N1 is a global issue at this point – no need to stay home out of fear.