Got the flu? Maybe you need to ride public transit more

By Robbie Webber

A new study from the U.K. finds that conventional wisdom may have it wrong when it comes to the link between getting sick and riding in crowded buses or trains. Although it would seem that sitting or standing in a small, crowded space with other possibly-sick people would increase your chances of getting sick yourself, research has shown that those who ride transit most frequently are less likely to get the flu.

A survey of 6,000 people found that those who rode public transportation were less likely to catch the flu than those who commuted by other modes. The strongest predictor of catching the flu was having a sick child, and women were more likely to get sick than men.

Researchers theorize that public transit riders had built up their immune systems with repeated exposure to germs among their fellow commuters.

Robbie Webber is a Senior Associate at SSTI.