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Thursday, December 02, 2004

Coughs and Sneezes

Keeping Healthy on the Tube

I have got the beginnings of a cold coming which isn't surprising it's really cold at the moment. When I was on the Piccadilly Line a couple of days ago I'm sure the heating wasn't on, it was freezing. But now my only days of really being in a cold ridden scrum with other sniffling, coughing and sneezing commuters is going home on the Drain (Waterloo & City Line).

Thereisnospoon however kindly sent me a link to a feature on the
BBC about how bugs are spread on public transport.

"BBC News has learnt the Rail Safety Standards Board is investigating the impact of overcrowding on trains and the Tube, including how much passengers share bugs.

No scientific research has yet been done on this but experts in virology believe poor ventilation and a lack of space can make some forms of public transport a fertile breeding ground. However there is a strong argument this fear may be over-hyped."

No surprises really but interesting that the Standards Board is looking into it.

"The London Underground must be an absolute goldmine for viruses trying to find someone to spread to because it's so packed," says Dr Rosy McNaught, a consultant in communicable disease control for Sheffield.

"The closer people are packed together and poorer the ventilation, the more likely people close to you will get a face full of it when you sneeze."

Nice.

Luckily there is some hope though and the article gives some sneezing and coughing etiquette and also recommends "avoiding cramped spaces" when travelling (yeah right) and sound advice about washing your hands when you get to work or home.

Was also encouraging to read "The Health Protection Agency says there is no indication that passengers in London and the South East - where public transport is more crowded - suffer more respiratory illnesses than other parts of the UK."

Check out the full article here with comments from commuters at the bottom including my favourite: "I can't believe there really are people being paid good money to make a study of this nature. I am not a doctor or a scientist but I can see that any germ will spread among a load of people crammed into an unventilated bus or train."


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