'Swine flu' on minds of LAX travelers, employees

"Swine flu" was on the minds of travelers at Los Angeles International Airport on Monday, especially for those arriving on flights from Mexico. KPCC's Kitty Felde says their relatives and friends were thinking about "swine flu," too.

Kitty Felde: It looked like business as usual at LAX's Tom Bradley International Terminal. Tired travelers pushed overloaded carts full of luggage to the waiting area. Lisa Renteria was looking for husband. He was returning from his mother's funeral in Guadalajara.

There haven't been any "swine flu" cases reported in Guadalajara, but Lisa Renteria worried that sick passengers from Mexico City might have boarded the flight. She says she's written up a checklist of precautions for her herself and for her husband.

Lisa Renteria: Just washing my hands before I leave, and when he gets home, having him shower, washing all his clothes. We have four kids and my oldest actually is a diabetic and she has some other complications.

So I don't want her to get anything from him when he gets home. Hose him down before he comes in the house – no, just kidding. It won't be that bad.

Felde: A handful of travelers at LAX wore surgical masks – but not Jose Diaz. He was waiting for his sister to arrive on the Guadalajara flight.

Felde: Are you doing anything special, different?
Jose Diaz: Not, not at the moment. No, just living a regular, normal life. So far. (laughs)
Felde: So no mask? You're not walking around with a mask on?
Diaz: No, no. Not at all.
Felde: Not washing your hands more often?
Diaz: Just the usual, usual thing.
Felde: More vitamins?
Diaz: Vitamins? Yeah. Every day. At least once.
Felde: But nothing unusual.
Diaz: No, nothing unusual. No, no difference right now. But I'm still reading the newspapers and finding out what's going on. You have to. At least to know what it, what are the effects, so you'll know.

Felde: George Becerra was at the airport to catch a flight back home to Guadalajara, where he says everyone is talking about the flu. Becerra says people in Mexico are suspicious about the official mortality numbers – and think the government isn't telling them everything.

George Becerra: They feel that why should the president stop working and concentrate himself totally on this, you know, or to close down all the schools and things like that. They feel that there's a lot more worse than they're being told.

Felde: Matt Galvez flew in from a Mexico City wedding. He says passengers on his flight were given a form asking them to self-report if they were feeling sick. But when he went through Customs, no one collected the form.

Matt Galvez: I'm frankly shocked that the U.S. government is letting planes from Mexico City land here in Los Angeles. I would have been upset because I needed to get home, personally. But the bigger picture is that it's, it's not worth the risk. They should just try to contain it and not let anybody in.

Felde: Airline passengers and their relatives aren't the only ones worried about catching "swine flu." The woman who runs the candy kiosk in the Bradley International Terminal says she's washing her hands constantly.

And she sprays Windex all over her cash register. She also spritzes the money she handles, including the dollar bills. Is it killing germs? Who knows? But the change is sure shiny.

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