7 Ways to Stay Healthy on Public Transportation

By Eric Leech, Planet Green

Germs are everywhere, but they can be particularly concentrated where there are large amounts of people packed into close quarters. This description practically defines public transportation in many areas of the world, which is why it is so important to have a healthy immune system when you are traveling via these means. Here are seven tips to boost your immunity and reduce your contact with bacteria and viruses while traveling any of the Planet Green approved forms of public transportation.

Eat Well and Take Your Vitamins Several Days before Your Trip

We all know that we should eat right every day, but sometimes it helps to be reminded. A healthy immune system thrives from proper nourishment. When traveling on public systems of transportation it becomes particularly important to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D and C, which helps boost immune system function and are found to be deficient in a surprising number of people. Garlic is not a bad addition to your diet too if you regularly travel via public transportation.

Have a Positive Attitude When you Travel

Positive emotions have been found in studies by Carnegie Mellon University to bolster the immune system and help keep colds at bay. Interesting, it is not so much being happy during the moment you are traveling that is important, but rather your general outlook on life that seems to matter the most.

Wash Your Hands After Each Trip

One of the best ways to keep from getting an infectious disease is to wash your hands often, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Washing your hands for at least 20-seconds with any kind of soap is the most affective means of avoiding sickness. Anti-bacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap. It is also a good idea to keep your hands in your pocket to resist touching things while traveling. If you do accidentally touch something, do not place your hands back in your pockets, as this will only line your pockets with germs, making it that much easier for you to become exposed later.

Gargle with Antiseptic Mouth Wash Before and After Your Trip

Another area where germs tend to harbor is in the mouth. While good dental hygiene should always include daily brushing and flossing, rinsing with an antiseptic can help keep you from becoming ill when you are subjected to a number of different strains of bacteria and viruses. There are a number of ways from which to make your own natural mouthwash, but no matter how you do it, the addition of tea tree oil will give the mixture its antiseptic qualities.

Get Plenty of Sleep the Night Before Traveling

Lack of sleep is enough to bring about all sorts of disease, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. The common cold occurs for the same reason all these other more serious conditions occur… from a weak immune system. To keep your immune system strong, it is advised to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep the night before traveling on any public system of transportation. Sleep restores the immune system by boosting the body’s natural levels of melatonin. In addition, when traveling by plain or train, bring your own blanket and pillow to reduce the amount of germs you’ll be subjected to.

Go to the Front or Back End of the System, Where Fewer People Sit

While riding on public transportation systems, most people tend to sit in the middle portion. Fewer people means fewer germs to come in contact with, so avoid the middle where commuters are clumped together like sardines as often as possible. Seat placement is also important. Window seats and sitting next to a friend can provide a slight barrier from the coughers and talkers.

Get a Massage After Your Trip

Many studies indicate that massage can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate, and guess what, it can also give a cold the old one-two punch. Massage helps keep you healthy after you have been on a public transportation system by decreasing the levels of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol is a natural hormone that is triggered by stress and has been known to destroy the bodies natural killer cells, leaving the bodies defense system weak. It doesn’t even have to be a professional rub down to achieve positive results, so go ahead and call in a favor from a loved one if you have to.

The 7 Germiest Public Places
How to Travel Green
Coffee, Sex, and Other Weird Ways Not to Get Sick


Maxine H.
Maxine Hadley6 years ago

Two silly articles on making us germ free. We all need a good reminder about washing our hands often and looking out for areas of particular danger. However using those waterless cleaners too frequently damages the normal flora on the skin of humans that helps keep the more dangerous ones at bay. Human beings were never meant to be germ free. Our immune system needs mild challenges to keep active and protective. Your articles suggest that the environment is so dangerous that we have to rub our skin with alcohol after every single action we do outside and inside the home. That is overkill and its hard to believe we would thrive in a germ free environment. These articles should have shown more balance.

Robyn L.
Robyn P6 years ago

I thought this article, while needing some editing ( plain is not a form of transport) is far superior to the linked "Germiest Places" article from Prevention.
Planet Green did a fine job reminding people of not-so- common sense.
Wash your hands, live a health-supporting lifestyle and get yourself some room to breathe, and wash up with plain ( on the plane?) soap and water for 20 seconds.
Yes, it is traveller oriented more so than obligate bus rider, but it all applies.

Shar F.
Sharon F6 years ago

We must be careful not to go overboard about germs. Some sources say that hand sanitizers are hazardous. Some sources say that all the chemicals that end in 'yl' are poisionous. Am looking at a small (1.1 fl oz) bottle of shampoo/cond from up scale hotel--it has 11 ingredients that have 'yl' in the name of the ingredient. KISS-Keep it simple, silly.

Storm M.
Darlene M6 years ago

This article is silly. Not for people using transit every day.

Jon Hoy
Jonjon Hoy6 years ago

Only if everyone use oral hygene before being on a bus. Some can be pretty rank smelling, lol

Fadia C.
Fadia C6 years ago


Sheri P.
Sheri P6 years ago

Great tips, thanks! I agree with KayL. ..public transportation is a great way to relax and do other things while traveling.

John S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Ioana Boca
Ioana B6 years ago

Thanks. Interesting article.

KayL NOFORWARDS6 years ago

I remember the old Greyhound Bus ads, "Take the bus and leave the driving to us." I thought it was great advice then and still is. When I travel by public transit, I arrive far more rested, alert and stress-free than if I had driven the distance, and that in itself is the biggest health benefit, IMHO. I also accomplish a lot more travelling by public transit. On long hauls, I usually catch up on my sleep. And on short daily commutes, I catch up with my reading, knit and even write letters and work on my latest stories. If I was driving all I'd be doing was clenching my muscles and losing my temper at the traffic.

Secondly, personally, I doubt there are more germs on buses and other public transit than there are in any other public places, such as movie theatres, offices, schools, etc.