We’re a nation of commuters
Whether you travel to and from work by train, bus, car, foot, bicycle, scooter, or another means altogether, commutes are rarely fun. The average employee has a 26-minute commute (assuming everything goes according to plan, which is, of course, never). This is about 20 percent longer than when the U.S. Census Bureau first started tracking commutes in 1980. And what’s worse, your commute may be affecting your health in some surprising ways. Taking steps to lower any and all risks associated with your commute can make a big difference in how you feel as well as how you perform on the job. These are the signs that commuting is taking its toll on your well-being.
You’re getting colds more often
Straphangers, beware: Certain viruses, like norovirus and colds, can linger on surfaces such as the subway pole or even your seat for up to 24 hours, says New York City internist and pulmonologist Len Horovitz, MD. “We can assume if we touch surfaces we can get these germs on our hands and get sick,” he says. But commuters aren’t powerless. “It’s OK to get germs on your hands if you wash them or use antibacterial gel and don’t touch your face,” he warns. “Just touching something does nothing. You get sick when you introduce germs to your mouth, eyes, or nose.” Most of us touch our face several times a minute without even thinking about it, he adds. But you should still try to avoid touching your face, use hand sanitizer after touching a public service, and wash your hands as soon as you get to work. Do you live in the U.S. state with the most treacherous commute?