Is Public Transport Making You Ill?
Category : World News
When you sit on a crowded train, bus or underground and the person next to you starts coughing uncontrollably, your first thoughts are usually ‘don’t pass that on to me.’ The close proximately of your travel companions and the confined space can have you wondering whether taking public transport is putting you at risk to catching more illnesses like colds and the flu.
Research conducted a few years ago concluded that commuters are no more likely to catch the flu than those traveling by car or who cycle to work. They surveyed 6,000 people to see whether traveling by public transport was increasing the chances of catching the flu. However, surely having all of those germs lingering in the air is going to make you more susceptible? Do you ever look at the buttons or handles and think that there could be all kinds of bacteria festering on them?
If so, you might be interested to hear that a study at London Metropolitan University analyzed the cleanliness of different forms of public transport. The London Underground was revealed to be the dirtiest form of transport, bringing up 22 types of living bacteria on the Victoria line. The bacteria found included dangerous superbugs and other seriously harmful samples. They even found bacteria from rats and both fecal and sewage bacteria.
Based on this information, it would seem that there is a problem with bacteria on public transport. Advice to people who commute is to use hand sanitizer whenever they come into contact with things that can easily spread germs, i.e. places where huge numbers of other people have been touching.
If you do commute and you have been finding that you are regularly picking up illnesses, maybe you should review your travel options. Driving isn’t always practical in places like central London, but elsewhere, you’re probably going to save yourself a fair few illnesses by changing your mode of transport. Of course, traveling by public transport is a greener way of traveling, but if your journey is fairly short, have you thought about cycling to work? Many companies offer a Cycle to Work scheme to provide employees with discounted bikes and equipment if they are prepared to cycle to work.
If you can’t drive, then perhaps knowing how dirty public transport truly is will be enough to inspire you to learn to drive and starting the process to getting your license. If you need help with your driving theory, sites like Top Tests provide mock tests for you to practice. You could be on the road within no time at all, free of all the festering bacteria that are living happily on public transport.
If you don’t have another option, then maybe you should take better measures to try and avoid picking up germs. You could wear gloves and cover your nose and mouth with a scarf. If someone is spluttering beside you, don’t be scared of getting up and moving either. You should put your own health first.