What it is: Influenza (fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat pain, fatigue)
How likely it is you’ll get it: Very. “This would be my biggest concern -- it’s probably the worst thing you can pick up while riding the subway.”
Where you’ll get it: ANYWHERE! Rubino says, “The flu can be spread through the air, but you have to be within a few feet of this person to catch it.” Hey, good thing people on the subway are usually so far away from each other, right? Rubino also notes, “There have been studies done in airplanes about people picking this up easily because of the re-circulated air, and there is less air exchange on a subway. The good thing is you’re generally not on the subway long enough to get airborne transmission. However, since so many people are touching the same objects, it’s more likely to leave the flu behind and therefore get it from touch than air. For instance, if I have the flu, and I contaminate my hands, and I touch an object even for a moment or two, I’ve still left the virus behind. The exposure time doesn't have to be all that long.”
How you can avoid it: “Someone who looks like they have a cold, or runny nose... stay away from them and definitely don’t sit next to them. Also try not to eat until you’ve washed your hands. If you just got off the subway, and you're not somewhere you can wash your hands (like a food cart), try to hold the food in a barrier of sorts -- like in a napkin -- because it’s likely your hands have been contaminated.” Just don’t take up multiple seats -- there are rules of etiquette to keep in mind.