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Should Fliers Fear H1N1?

What precautions should airline passengers take if, as expected, the number of H1N1 infections grows this fall?

Several carriers are stowing pillows and blankets in efforts to block the transmission of germs, but doctors say that's not enough.

So what's the best way try to to avoid becoming infected with the virus while traveling?

Infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner, the chief of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville, said on "The Early Show" Tuesday people should first get the seasonal flu vaccine, which is already available. The H1N1 vaccine should be available later this flu season, but Schaffner said getting the regular flu shot is a start. He also suggested washing your hands and, if you're coughing, doing so in a Kleenex or in the bend of your arm.

Complete Coverage: H1N1

"We don't usually acquire influenza from inanimate objects," Schaffner told CBS News. He explained people get the flu by being in the breathing zone of an infected person, or getting it on your fingers and then touch your nose or mouth.

With that in mind, flying in close quarters could make some people hesitant to take to the skies. But should people be afraid to fly this flu season?

Schaffner said people shouldn't be afraid, but rather, cautious this year.

"Try to avoid some of those people who are coughing and sneezing around you," he said. "But you don't have to be afraid to fly."

Some people are trying to avoid to avoid the spread of H1N1 with face masks. But how effective are they?

Schaffner said doctors really don't know if face masks work. Schaffner told CBS News there's little information on the effectiveness of face masks, but said they may offer some protection.

But, he said it is important people who are sick don't get the idea that it is OK to travel when they are sick.

"If you're sick," he said, "you should stay at home and not fly."

Air quality on planes is another concern for many people. But Schaffner said on many large airplanes the air is circulated through very high-efficiency filters that take out a lot of the germs. In addition, you're not exposed to everybody on the plane because air is re-circulated in segments.

"The air is partially recycled. ... It's not 100 percent -- but it's really quite clean," he told CBS News. "... So it's really the folks in the seats in front of you, in back of you and next to you, (that) are the main ones you have to worry about."