Airport Screening for Swine Flu

This week we went on an already planned trip to Huatulco, Mexico. We flew from Mexico City to Huatulco on Sunday and from Huatulco to Mexico City on Wednesday. With the Swine Flu pandemic all over the world having been suspected to originate in Mexico, we expected the airport to be crazy.

There was a military presence there, handing out masks to passengers. We expected to see that because we knew that they were handing out masks to people as they entered the subway. But handing out masks was pretty much the only sign of swine flu pandemic that we saw.

There was also the “screening” that we went through for them to let us on the plane. It consisted of a single sheet of paper (see the photo – click to enlarge) with a few questions on it.

It asked our name, age, gender, and then some very simple symptom questions. Do you have the following symptoms: Fever over 39 degrees Celsius, cough, headache, limb pain, joint pain, eye redness, and nasal flux. Then, it said, “If you have all of these symptoms, we recommend that you postpone your trip and see a doctor.”

That was it. I expected a little more. We got the same form on the way home from the beach.

I read today that they will be doing more screening now at the airports. I wonder what that will be like. I have heard that they will actually take your temperature at the airport. We’ll see what happens.

Screening for Swine Flu in airport Screening for Swine Flu in Airport

Swine Flu Photos

While the experts debate the effectiveness of masks to help prevent the spread of swine flu, there is no doubt that people all over Mexico are wearing them.

Here are some humorous photos I’ve found that help relieve a little of the tension during the pandemic.

Benito Juarez thinks a mask will help him (via: Pura vida)

The owner of this car isn’t taking chances (via: Ana Maria Salazar)

While you’re at it, you can learn how to make your own anti-swine flu mask.

Here’s an example of how not to wear a mask (Check the photo).

Oh, and I took this at out Walmart pharmacy last night. It says, “Dear Customer, for the moment we do not have masks. They are sold out. Thank you.”

We are out of masks

Swine Flu in Mexico City

Swine Flu in Mexico City

What is big enough to shut down the two largest religions in Mexico: Soccer and the Catholic Church? Mass has been canceled in Mexico City’s National Cathedral on Sunday, soccer games were played without the usual crowds of thousands in closed and empty stadiums.

The Secretary of Education canceled class in Mexico City, the Federal District, and San Luis Potosi for more than a week. The Mexican government’s treasury department has even allocated almost half a billion dollars to fight it.

What could be big enough to cause this mayhem? The answer: Swine Flu.

What is Swine Flu?

Swine Flu is the talk of the town in one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. It is a weird strain of the flu whose “combination of genes had not been seen before in flu viruses in humans or pigs.” You can’t get it from eating pork. But it is dangerous. So far there have been more than 1300 cases of it in Mexico with more than 80 deaths. You can read more about swine flu at the CDC website.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?

The CDC website says, “CDC has NOT recommended that people avoid travel to Mexico at this time.” In fact, there have been no swine flu cases reported in Mexico’s beach resorts, which are hundreds of miles away from Mexico City.

While it’s not recommended to visit Mexico City right now, most of Mexico is not (yet) affected. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious when deciding to visit Mexico or not.

How to protect yourself from Swine Flu

Inside Mexico has a great post on how to protect yourself from Swine Flu, which includes some no brainers, such as washing your hands, avoiding hospitals unless absolutely necessary, and limiting physical contact.

The Mexican government has also put out a bulletin with recommendations on how to protect yourself from swine flu.

How does Swine Flu affect the Poulette Family?

The Seminary has canceled class until May 6th. Our church has suspended all activity this weekend as well. We had already planned to go out of town, so it’s not going to affect us too much. We are taking the same precautions as everyone else, which is just basically avoiding a lot of contact with other people and washing our hands like crazy.

Many of the Seminary students travel all over the city and country for their weekend work at various churches, so they might be affected. Pray for this sickness and the country of Mexico right now. It doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.

Swine flu is something that we will be wondering about for a while. Please keep praying for our family here in Mexico.