ttc coughing

Toronto is sick of people not covering their mouths when they cough on the TTC

Cold and flu season is in full swing across Canada, meaning that so too is the season of people hacking their lungs out all over public transit vehicles — and the season of people trying to smite said oblivious germ-spewers with their eyes.

Look, everybody gets sick from time to time, and we don't all have the luxury of staying home to rest up.

There is much we can do to prevent the spread of our contagious disease, however, and it starts with simply sneezing into one's elbow, like a goddamn human being.

The annual internet flogging of people who openly cough and sneeze in public (or let their children do the same) started in earnest today at the local level on Reddit with a thread called "People on TTC coughing and sneezing without covering their mouth."

Just imagining such a thing is enough to make any commuter's blood boil, though most of us don't need to use our imaginations, according to Redditors.

"It's funny because I dont hold onto anything when riding because everyone either coughs on every surface or catches their spew in their hand and spreads it everywhere," wrote one.

"I've gotten pretty good at not needing anything to stay upright but those jerks are still offsetting."

"Let me tell you about the times I've been coughed and sneezed on. From people sitting above spewing germs on the back of my head to people coughing on my hands when I'm holding the bar. I give them the look and they don't even care," wrote another.

"If this is what they think of themselves in public I dont even wanna know what they do behind this closed doors."

Many of the roughly 200 comments posted to that Reddit thread over the past few hours point out that this isn't a TTC-exclusive problem.

Others counter that, while this may be true, the behaviour is particularly aggregious when trapped inside a small, jam-packed public transit vehicle.

Some say to wear a mask on the train, like commuters do in some parts of Asia, or never to touch anything with their hands at risk of contracting the plague.

Toronto Public Health encourages people to "do the dab" when they feel a sneeze or cough coming on, and let loose into their sleeves, as opposed to the person in front of them's hair.

"Germs such as influenza and cold viruses, and even whooping cough are spread by coughing or sneezing. When you cough or sneeze on your hands, your hands carry and spread these germs," reads the City of Toronto's website.

"Keep your distance (more than 2 metres/6 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing."

Easier said than done on the King streetcar line at 5 p.m., but okay.

The TTC itself asks passengers to "use proper cough etiquette."

"Cough or sneeze into a tissue. If a tissue is not available, cough into your upper sleeve, not into your hands," reads the transit agency's website. "Remember to wash your hands afterwards."

The city, the TTC, the province and pretty much all medical professionals also reccomend getting a flu shot, which could prevent you from catching and spreading influenza.

What the flu shot can't do is ever make you feel clean again after some jerkhole coughs in your face.

Lead photo by

Bruce Reeve


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