Travelers’ Health and Flu

Travelers’ Health and Flu

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FIELD DATES: November 12 – 18, 2009


  • Travelers’ intent to take flu precautions for themselves while traveling – When asked the likelihood of taking precautions to keep themselves from getting H1N1 or seasonal flu while traveling this year, 51% of those surveyed said they were “very likely” to take such precautions, while 31% said they were “somewhat likely,” 5% said “not very likely” and 12% said “not likely at all.”
  • Travelers’ concern about H1N1 – Travelers’ concerns about catching the flu varied by mode of travel. They showed the most concern about travel by airplane with 52% saying they were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that they or a member of the family will get sick with the flu while traveling by plane in the next 12 months. Concern was markedly less prominent for other modes of travel such as bus (29% “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned”), train (28%) and cruise ship (27%).
  • Behaviors adopted by travelers in response to H1N1 –When asked about specific precautions they would take, 81% of travelers said they would sneeze into their elbow rather than their hands on their next trip, compared to 64% who said they took this precaution on their last trip. In addition, more travelers indicated that they would bring hand sanitizer with them in carry-on baggage (76% v. 61%) and get the seasonal flu vaccine to prevent catching the flu while traveling (49% v. 35%).
  • Travelers’ awareness of public health messages on flu precautions – Travelers showed a high awareness of public health advertising regarding ways to avoid the flu while on trips, with 70% saying they had seen advertising – including posters, billboards, web-based ads, or newspaper ads – in the past 60 days about staying healthy from flu while traveling.

METHODS AND SAMPLE: Telephone poll conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,124 respondents age 18 and older, who have traveled by airplane, bus, train, or cruise ship in the past 12 months.