Take this terrible weather and add the lack of personal space aboard your typical New York City subway car, and what do you get? A whole lotta sick people.
That's why one Brooklyn-based company came up with what might just be the best thing to happen to germaphobes all winter: The Scough.
Remember the SARS scare, when everyone walked around in those ugly surgeons' masks? This is kind of like that, minus the ugly.
The Scough is a sort of fashion/science hybrid: A scarf with activated carbon filter technology that traps germs, viruses and pollution, neutralizes them and then kills the bacteria. So basically when you wear one, you're protecting yourself from other people's grossness, and you can cough or sneeze without getting the side-eye from the person next to you.
Yes, it's meant to be wrapped around your face. But no one will look at you funny for that, because, HELLO, IT'S FREEZING OUT. Added bonus: built-in protection from that strong urine odor we've all become far too familiar with underground.
Scoughs are not cheap-- they range from $39 to $59-- so this isn't a "get one to match with every outfit" type of deal. But the company does partner with non-profit shotatlife.org to donate a vaccine to a child in need for every one bought.
Here are our top picks.
For women: 'The Suri,' orange paisley
Why we like it: The sweet, subtle pattern detracts from the whole "I'm a neurotic germaphobe" vibe. Plus, it would look totally inconspicuous when worn as a regular scarf around your neck on those days you're somewhere less infested; $39 at wearascough.com. (Credit: wearascough.com)
For men: Black flannel with light blue mustache
Why we like it: Because, mustache. That is all; $39 at wearascough.com.
So, what do you think? Is this the next trend to hit celeb status via the subway-riding elite, or is it just a silly fad, passing in the blink of a sneeze? (Credit: wearascough.com)