Train germs

Train germs: Sit or stand to the side of a passenger to avoid catching their cold

Train travel can be inevitable during the busy Christmas period, when rushing off to see friends and family elsewhere in the country.

However, it also poses a much greater risk of getting sick with a cold or flu when around ill passengers, says an expert.

“This is a key time for the onward transmission of colds, as people are closer together for longer periods of time,” says Dr Gary McLean, who is an honorary research fellow in the Airway Disease Infection Section of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London.

However, there is a insider trick on how to avoid catching the viruses which cause these colds, and it’s as simple as where you stand. 

If you stand to the side of a passenger you suspect to be sick, you are much less likely to catch their germs, says Dr McClean.

This is because, if that passenger sneezes, standing sideways rather than in the direct path of the sneeze means the virus is less likely to travel towards you.

“Sneezes and coughs can travel a large distance very quickly, so I would say that being sideways from an infected person is safer rather than directly opposite,” he adds.

However, you may want to take more extreme measures, as one study found a single sneeze can infect up to 150 commuters in five minutes.

train cramped

Trains germs: Cramped spaces can increase the risk of you getting sick

If they sneeze or cough try to minimise inhalation for a few seconds

Colds expert Dr Gary McClean

“If they sneeze or cough try to minimise inhalation for a few seconds,” he recommends, with regards to that nearby ill person on the train.

“Try to avoid contacting anything that they have and then touching your nose or eyes.”

After travelling on public transport, you should wash your hands with soap and warm water. 

You could also consider travelling with a bottle of antibacterial hand gel, according to the expert’s advice.

person with tissue

Train germs: Try minimising inhalation after a sick passenger has sneezed

Train travel services will be disrupted during the festive period of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2017.

No train lines are currently running on Christmas Day 2017 itself, as confirmed by a number of companies including Virgin Trains, Thameslink and London Underground.

However, some services will be running on Christmas Eve so people can travel to visit their family and friends on these days.

An up to date list of trains travelling on Christmas Eve can be found here for those who need advice. 

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