Tips to Avoid Germs as You Hit the Road

It’s difficult not to worry as you move about during cold and flu season and growing concern over the coronavirus, but people still have places to go. Following general public health practices can lessen the chance of getting sick as you hit the road. Public transit agencies, such as LA Metro, are actively taking steps to mitigate the spread of germs, including cleaning buses and trains at least once daily and regularly disinfecting major transit hubs. Santa Monica Big Blue Bus is cleaning buses daily, and implementing additional sanitizing measures on board, especially on high touch surface areas. BruinBus is also being cleaned and sanitized regularly. Here are 8 tips from infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists you can take to avoid germs as you commute to UCLA and travel to other places.

  1. Wash your hands

The golden rule! For an effective clean, wash your hands on either side properly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Check out this list of pop hits to sing while washing up to nail the timing. Finish up with a moisturizer to prevent hands from drying or cracking due to constant washing.

  1. Use hand sanitizer

Keep hand sanitizer handy. A formula with 60% alcohol content is best. Using hand sanitizer regularly is a very easy thing everyone can do to help stop the spread of germs. Disinfect your hands after exiting public transportation and avoid touching poles or seats. Carry tissues with you to hold on to poles and railings, and discard the tissue in an enclosed trash bin.

  1. Don't touch your face

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as this is how nasty viruses get in.

  1. Disinfect the phone

Keep the screen and frame as clean as possible. Use an antibacterial wipe to disinfect the device and wash your hands with soap and water after touching the phone.

  1. Don't eat or drink on public transit

Remember tip #3? If you are eating or drinking there is a higher chance you will touch your face.

  1. If someone coughs or sneezes, move away from them

If you’re riding public transit and someone sneezes or coughs, either move away, exit at the next stop, or if the bus, train, or subway is crowded and you can’t physically step away, face your back towards the person. The important thing is to not be downwind of the sneeze or cough.

  1. Sanitize your bag and keep it off the floor and other surfaces

Hold on to your bag and keep it off the ground. Carry around sanitizing and disinfecting cloths to wipe your bag down as you move between places.

  1. Cover your face 

Face coverings are now required to board most buses and trains. The evidence is clear that wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of germs, and is especially important in public settings. Bottom line: stay calm and disinfect on. Check the County of LA Public Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional resources. For information on UCLA's response to the coronavirus, visit UCLA.in/coronavirus.