It may seem like a silly question. Most of us are taught by our parents to politely cover our mouth when coughing and the mouth and nose area when sneezing. It’s one of those common courtesies that we engage in so automatically that we barely think about it. But health experts say that is exactly the problem.
In order to reduce the spread of infectious germs, experts recommend not sneezing or coughing into your hand. All this does is transfer the germs to your hand, and unless you wash your hands immediately before touching a doorknob or other object, you will spread the germs to those items. Instead, experts recommend ‘the Dracula’ approach, which is to sneeze and cough into your elbow, as if you are drawing up your arm in a cape. Handkerchiefs are another option, though regular cleaning would be essential, otherwise you would just be carrying around a germ rag in your pocket or purse.
A study done by medical students found that most people do attempt to cover up a sneeze or cough when in public, but most use their hands to do it. With the rise in flu epidemics throughout the world in recent years, experts hope small steps such as properly covering sneezes and coughs will help prevent an airborne explosion of infectious germs.
So fess up, do you use your hand to cover coughs or sneezes, or do you use a handkerchief or take ‘the Dracula’ approach? Will you change the way you cover your sneezes or coughs? Are there other ways people carelessly spread germs in public?