We’re lucky that access to medicine for cough and cold can be easy for many of us. While this is a true blessing, it doesn’t mean that we’ve been given the free pass to live without any regard for possible sicknesses we might catch from other people! We’re not trying to scare you: it’s true that most illnesses are not easy to contract simply from germs in public places unless one already has a compromised immune system. That doesn’t make the thought of coming into contact with germs so often any more comforting though.
With that in mind, here are 4 simple ways to avoid (or at least minimize contact and risk of infections from) germs while on commute.
Wear a face mask
Surgical masks protect both the wearer and others. Contrary to popular belief, they are most often worn by those who are sick (or think they are about to get sick) as a courtesy to others to prevent the spread of germs. While they do not completely stop the viruses, the risk of transmitting it is much lower. Masks will also help minimize the pollution you are forced to inhale when walking around in the city. It will also help you breathe in case you’re stuck beside someone who apparently has no regard for proper hygiene.
Think the surgical masks look bad? Worry not. Several retailers have come up with fashionable masks that are less awkward to wear in public. If you’re fashion-conscious, you might even find a few to match your outfits! Both your fashionista reputation and healthy immune system will stay intact.
Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol
Let’s be practical. There are instances wherein we really cannot avoid touching things that have made contact with other people, such as the ticket cards for trains, hand railings, and toilet tissue dispensers (otherwise known as bacteria breeding grounds). The number one contaminated thing we can’t go a day without touching is money. Unsurprisingly, all sorts of cash carry a wide array of bacteria (about 3,000 types). While most are ‘harmless’, there is a chance that it could make you sick. Always always always have a bottle of rubbing alcohol to keep the germs at bay while you’re on the go.
Stop touching your face! Or anything, for that matter
By the way, the most common microbes on bash are the ones that cause acne. If you often touch your face even after handling money, then don’t be surprised if you have a few zits here or there that won’t go away. Yes, you are your face’s own worst enemy. Even if you haven’t gotten your hands on cash yet, there is no good excuse to constantly touch your face. Additionally, avoid eating using your fingers while on commute as much as possible. In short, just stop touching things altogether if you can help it.
Keep tissues in your bag or purse
This may be an alternative to the rubbing alcohol, or perhaps a precursor. If you absolutely must touch something, use a tissue as a barrier between the thing and your skin, kind of like makeshift gloves. This is especially useful for opening doors or flushing the toilet.
Don’t think of these steps as extreme or highly unnecessary: they are absolutely needed if you don’t want to find yourself in the doctor’s office for anything more than a regular check-up anytime soon. Otherwise, the fact that you have to touch things that other people have touched (who, in turn, have touched God-knows-what) and be forced to sit/stand uncomfortably close to other commuters should gross you out enough for you to want to follow these steps. Stay healthy!