How To Sneeze Properly (Note: Not Into Your Hands!)

About the Pledge

Respiratory diseases are transferred from human to human through viruses and bacteria, and sneezes and coughs are the easiest methods for these microorganisms to get from one place to another. Do yourself and others a favor by following the simple steps below. Sneezing and coughing properly can help seriously reduce the rate of infection of influenza, the common cold, and other illnesses.

So, here is how you sneeze or cough. It's actually quite simple:

  1. You feel a sneeze coming on. Oh no!
  2. Do you have a thick tissue or handkerchief? Reach for it! Make sure to cover both your nose and mouth when sneezing.
  3. If you don't have a thick tissue or handkerchief, and most of us don't in the few seconds where we feel a sneeze coming on, lift up your arm, turn your head into the elbow or upper arm of your sleeve, and sneeze into it. It's much better for all that stuff to go into your sleeve instead of your hand. When was the last time you used your sleeve to type, open doors or shake hands?
  4. If your sleeve is particularly messy, now you have more time to search for a tissue, paper towel, or other wiping implement.
  5. Wash your hands, or use some hand sanitizer, as soon as possible after sneezing. The last thing you want is some of those stray microorganisms to end up on your hands.

flick photo by mcfarlandmo

I pledge to take the actions described above to sneeze and cough properly, and to prevent infecting others when I am sick.

If I do have to sneeze into my hands, I'll make every effort not to touch objects around me, and to wash my hands as soon as possible.


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