Red nosed commuters need better manners

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’Tis the season to be sickly. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

I’m sure colds and flu are always rife at this time of year, but never before can I remember so many people coming down with such a serious case of the sniffles en masse at least. Joy and merriment has this year been replaced – or at least interspersed – with fits of coughing, runny noses and self-diagnosed migraines.

Colleagues who turned up for work in the morning feeling fit and healthy have progressively turned a sickly-shade of grey, complaining of being too hot, too cold and too hot again, before grabbing their coat, a handful of tissues and making for the door. Cue several, ‘I’m not going to make it into work again today’ emails and a week off.

Of course, public transport hasn’t helped. As a nation prepares to buy out seasonal stock for friends, family, acquaintances and the next-door neighbours cat, we’ve all crowded onto over-packed trams, trains and buses, sharing symptoms with surrounding commuters.

Not to sound like too much of a nag, but when did not covering your mouth when expelling a host of germs in public become so commonplace?

Didn’t all parents teach their offspring that it’s not polite (nor sanitary for that matter) to sneeze into the back of someone’s neck, spreading a haze of germs and bacteria over those who dared sit too close?

Weren’t they told it’s rude to cough out into the open air without a hand or tissue in sight, and unsightly to wipe noses on sleeves and leave remnants there for the world to see?

And people, when feeling that dreadful, nobody will brand you a hero for venturing out from beneath the covers. I’m all for sharing, particularly at this time of year (yes please, I’d love to take another mince pie) but really, germs are something that one should keep to themselves.

Touching all sorts of sanitised wood, yours truly has managed to avoid the dreaded lurgy thus far.

Not one to gloat (honestly) it’s been hard not to express pride in my immune system. How I have managed to fight off the bug that’s brought down so many comrades.

I haven’t, and won’t, mention to those that have fallen that they may just be suffering from a dose of southern-softie syndrome.

They make us far more hardy up north, but I’ll keep that to myself...