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Coughing & sneezing etiquette 101: Stop carelessly spreading your germs


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a proper way to cough and sneeze, the answer is absolutely yes, especially in times like these!

We’re talking about the coronavirus, which so far has killed more than 2,800 people worldwide. There have been more than 83,000 global cases, with infections in every continent except Antarctica.

According to the CDC, serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whopping cough, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Unclean hands
    • Touching your face after touching contaminated objects
    • Touching objects after contaminating your hands

The proper way to cough and sneeze

It’s important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough and sneeze.

Then, put your used tissue in the trash! Don’t leave used tissues on desks or other shared workplace areas.

Don’t have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.

Remember to wash your hands with warm soap and water after coughing or sneezing.

It’s important to keep your hands clean as many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing your hands properly with soap and clean, running water.

If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

When and where should I practice proper cough etiquette?

According to the CDC, cough etiquette is important for infection control measures in healthcare settings such as doctor’s offices and emergency departments, as well as clinics.

It’s also important to practice proper etiquette at your workplace or anywhere where there are crowds of people. Think shopping malls, grocery stores, restaurants, and other public places.

Distancing yourself is important

The CDC recommends you avoid close contact with people who are sick in order to prevent the spread of respiratory disease.

If you are sick yourself, try to distance yourself from others so you do not spread your germs.

Distancing includes staying home from work or school when possible.

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