Germs are everywhere. Even the staunchest germophobes can’t escape them completely. After all, anyone who takes any form of public transportation understands what it’s like to be crammed in a bus or subway car with other people, particularly during cold and flu season.
You’d think most people would understand how to keep their germs to themselves, right? Keep your hands clean. Stay home if you’re very sick. Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow — you know, so you don’t get germs onto the very hand with which you’re holding the pole that everyone else is holding …
But it seems a very disturbing trend is emerging as a result of connectivity. Be it on their iPhones, Androids, iPads, tablets or e-readers, people have become very consumed with reading the latest bestseller or trying to get to the next level of Candy Crush. As a result, they seem to forget that they are in public and need to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.
Whether people are just plain rude or have simply zoned out and not realized they are coughing all over others, intentions when it comes to germs are kind of moot — especially from the perspective of the unwitting receiver of the germ shower.
We get it. Scoring a seat on a commuter train — on which you have a signal for your device du jour, which you may be holding with both hands, when you’re groggy and haven’t had your morning coffee — offers the ideal opportunity to zone out before you start that hectic workday. But you still have to be mindful of those around you (yes, all of them).
So if you’re holding onto a pole with one hand while catching up on Facebook with the other, don’t be the person who coughs without covering her mouth — until she senses someone’s angry glare. Don’t be the person who nabs a seat and coughs without covering his mouth because he’s typing on the laptop he’s balancing on his knees — until someone yells at him to cover his mouth. And don’t be the person who is too engrossed in a text message exchange while walking up and down the street to bother covering her mouth when coughing. Tsk, tsk. Drive-by — well, walk-by — germs are still gross.
Please consider this your public service announcement: Don’t get so wrapped up in the Internet that you forget how to exercise proper germ etiquette. No one wants your cold or flu, even if you’re about to become the biggest Candy Crush legend of all time.
You only sneezed once, you say? Take a look at what a sneeze looks like. See that spittle? You wouldn’t want that landing on you, right?
Check out these tips on how to keep your germs in check, and let’s make 2014 the year we exercise some courtesy toward others and become more aware of our bad habits.