Stay Healthy When Riding the T in Boston
The Boston subway system is the last place a germaphobe wants to be. For countless working adults, public transportation gets them to work and back home again. As cold season approaches, here are some quick tips for staying healthy while you're riding the T.
Avoid the pole. Since many viruses are spread by the hands, you want to avoid high-contact surfaces. Many people are surprised to learn that certain types of hearty viruses can stay alive for hours or even days on a metallic surface. If you can manage to find a seat while you're on the T, claim it as your own. If you have to clutch the pole for safety's sake, consider wearing a glove. If you must hold on with your bare hands, use sanitizer shortly after and wash thoroughly the first chance you get.
Wash your hands. While they can be especially useful when you can't get to a sink, hand sanitizers can't kill every type of germ. Studies suggest that these alcohol-based topical products aren't very effective against noroviruses, which cause the dreaded "stomach flu." Once you've left the T, be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds at the office or at home. In between, be careful not to contaminate other surfaces, such as your desk or TV remote.
Get plenty of sleep. Countless studies have shown that inadequate sleep suppresses our immune systems, leaving us more vulnerable to infections. Experts recommend that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you are falling short, consider prioritizing sleep. This means going to bed and getting up at the same time, every day - even on weekends. You should also limit caffeine and alcohol, which can promote shallow sleep and frequent waking. Research also indicates that blue light emitted by tablets and smartphones can promote sleeplessness by interfering with natural melatonin production.
Good Habits, Wherever You Are
While people commonly associate the T with germs, viruses and bacteria are found in any type of high-traffic area. This includes shopping malls, schools, bathrooms and anywhere else people go. You can reduce your risk of getting sick by washing your hands frequently and by keeping your hands away from your face. You should also boost your natural defenses by getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.