Health News

How to avoid catching something on public transport this Winter

  • Two thirds of commuters believe public transport is a major cause of winter illnesses.
  • A study of 2,000 Brits has revealed 66% are worried about catching a sore throat or cough on their commute, with the figure for those based in London even higher (77%).
  • 72% admit they don’t avoid public transport when they have a winter illness.
  • For those who continue their daily travel while unwell, over a third feel ‘self-conscious’ and a quarter ‘guilty’.
  • 82% of people said they had a cough or sore throat last winter.

New research by Jakemans throat sweets has revealed that public transport is a major cause of winter illnesses according to two thirds of Brits, with 41% saying they’ve been coughed on during their commute.

The study of 2,000 Brits who commute on public transport revealed four in five experienced a winter illness last year and over a third said it is ‘very likely’ this was due to their form of travel.

In fact, over half (54%) believe they are more likely to catch a sore throat or cough on public transport than working with children.

The findings expose the fears commuters carry with them when travelling to and from work, with 66% feeling worried about catching a sore throat or cough.

Three in 10 believe travelling on the tube is likely to make them catch a winter illness, while over half said buses increase their chances.

This is put down to lack of fresh air, germs over handrails and seats, and being in close proximity to strangers, according to over half of respondents.

The findings come as no surprise as a massive 72% of commuters admit they don’t avoid public transport when they have a winter illness and 60% haven’t taken a day off work.

On the other hand, 40% have taken a day off work just to avoid public transport when they have a sore throat or cough. But if they do continue with their daily travel while unwell, over a third feel ‘self-conscious’ and a quarter ‘guilty’.

Jakemans Brand Manager, Elizabeth Hughes-Gapper said: “The results show how our daily commute affects our likelihood of catching a winter illness and the general worries around this risk. The crowds of people and the seasonal germs understandably make many of us anxious about becoming ill.

“There are ways to minimise catching a winter illness in busy spaces, but for many commuters getting ill is simply unavoidable. Being in a crowded environment is simply the worst when you’re feeling under the weather, so for those suffering with a sore throat on their commute, Jakemans menthol confectionery helps to soothe the symptoms and keeps airways clear.”

The research also found 40 per cent of Londoners believe commuting on the tube is likely to make them catch a winter illness. And of those who travel in the big smoke, the Central line is the route they are most worried about getting a bug from, followed by Piccadilly and Northern.

If fellow commuters spread their winter germs during a journey, over a quarter feel ‘disgusted’ and one in five are left ‘worried’ and ‘anxious’, while the most annoying sound was revealed as someone not covering their mouth when they cough. 

When sat next to someone on transport who is ill, two in five have washed their hands with sanitizer to avoid the germs and 37% have moved seats or turned away from the person.

Of those surveyed, one in five haven’t always used public transport and 52 per cent of them suggested they have noticed an increase in illnesses since doing so. 

Almost half (45%) wished they didn’t have to use public transport and a third said doing so leaves them feeling dirty and affects their mood for the rest of the day.

Hygiene Expert, Lisa Ackerley added: “Getting a winter illness is not a foregone conclusion, even if you are travelling on public transport or work in crowded environments. By practising some simple hygiene measures to break the journey of the germ, you can improve your chances of staying cold or flu free.

“People may not appreciate the link that our own hands bring those germs into our bodies, causing illness. Simple hand washing at the right time will help reduce the risk of infection.”

Lisa recommends these 5 tips to keep up your sleeve on your commute: 
Hands are key to transmitting colds and flu – they could pick up all sorts of germs during the commute – make sure you don’t rub your eyes or touch your face when your hands may be contaminated

Always cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands – that way you contain germs and stop them transferring onto surfaces

Wash your hands immediately when you arrive at the office or at home, so you don’t spread germs you have picked up on your commute

Wear a scarf over your mouth and face when battling through crowds

Don’t put your bag on tables or worktops – think about what germs the bag may have picked up that could spread to these surfaces 
lyndahamiltonparker
Lynda Hamilton Parker is a Scottish PR expert and independent publisher

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