Commuter's Guide to Staying Healthy

Commuter's Guide to Staying Healthy

By Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, MD


There are a lot of reasons New Yorkers take the subway — it's cheap, you don't have to fight traffic and, with 472 subway stations, there's likely one relatively close to your office. But during the cold and flu season, riding in such close quarters is a little nerve-racking. While you can't completely protect yourself, there are ways to lessen your chances of getting sick from your daily commute.


Avoid the Pole 

Germs are hanging out there just waiting to jump on you. Of course you don't want to injure yourself on a jostling train by not hanging on. So, if you can't get a seat during a crowded rush hour, then wear gloves to create a barrier between you and the surface.


Wash Your Hands

Even before you grab your morning cup of coffee in the office, go to the bathroom and give your hands a good scrub with soap and warm water. If you're in a pinch, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is a good backup.


Avoid Peak Commute Times

This is not an option for everyone, but if you have flexible office hours, going in before or after rush hour means the train isn't as crowded — making it a lot easier to distance yourself from that person who is coughing and sneezing in the subway car. If you do notice someone coughing or sneezing near you, change cars at the next station if you can. 


Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle 

A healthy immune system is the first step in preventing sickness and that requires living a healthy life. Keep these easy steps in mind:


- Get enough exercise. It's not just for toning up and losing weight — some researchers have found that exercise can help us fight off colds.


- Eat your vegetables, fruits, and other vitamin-rich food to boost your immune system.


- Rest, rest, rest. Long hours and demanding jobs make it difficult for some people to get a decent night's sleep, but it will do you good in the long run. One study showed that people who average only five to six hours of sleep a night are four times more likely to get a cold than those who sleep at least seven hours.


Get a Flu Shot

It's oft-repeated advice for a reason. It's estimated that in the 2017/2018 flu season, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 6.2 million influenza cases. And it's simple to get — just head to your nearest CityMD. 


Follow the Golden Rule

You don't want to get sick, and neither do your fellow commuters. So, if you have a virus or are feeling ill, stay home. Not only is it respectful to everyone else, but resting up will speed up your recovery.


Author Bio:

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat is a top Family and Emergency Medicine doctor. As a Medical Director at CityMD and a nationwide medical news correspondent, Dr. Nesheiwat’s mission is not only to save lives—but to change them, by giving real people the treatment and the expertise they need. She also completed the US Army ROTC Advanced Officer Training in Ft. Lewis, Washington prior to becoming a Family and Emergency Physician. She has led medical relief missions around the globe.