Cough Etiquette | How to Avoid Spreading Germs

If you haven’t noticed, you will soon. Just ask the Raytown School District. It is that time of year, the time where the common cold, RSV and the Flu all rear their ugly heads in our work places, classrooms and public venues. But, taking small preventative measures, such as coughing or sneezing in the crease of your arm, can go a long way in stopping the spread of germs.

Germs spread quick when they are not properly covered during a sneeze or cough.

The Spread of Germs

Until the beginning of spring, when most of the common cold and flu germs become more dormant, everyone is at risk for catching a bug. When we sneeze or cough it is almost a natural instinct for us to do so straight into our hands. The reasoning for this is simple, we think that if we cough or sneeze into our hands we are protecting others from any germs that may fly from our lips. But, what we are actually putting more people at risk.

Unfortunately some germs can stay alive for as long as 48 hours. After coughing into your hand, can you count the number of things that you touch? Even if you make your way directly to the bathroom to wash your hands, you are still touching the handles on the door, the sink’s handles and more. And if some germs can last for up to 48 hours, that means anyone touching the same door handle to the bathroom is now at risk for contracting your bug.

Cough Etiquette

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has come up with a new standard for coughing and sneezing prevention to try to reduce the amount of germs that are spread. The new way to handle a cough or sneeze is to use a tissue. If a tissue is not readily available to you, the next best options is to sneeze or cough in the crook of your arm, your elbow. Since your elbow touches a lot less during the day, the chance for your germs to spread is then greatly decreased.

Of course after you use your elbow, be sure to follow-up with a good hand washing for 20-30 seconds. Using proper cough etiquette is a must for everyone and provides a safer work environment for those around you.

Pass It On

Even though work places have given extra effort to making people aware of the new cough etiquette, old habits die hard. If you are around someone who does have a cold or the flu be sure to gently remind them how they can decrease the risk of passing their germs along. The more awareness proper cough etiquette receives, the less amount of germs that are spread.

Prepare For The Flu

No matter how many times a person is told how to avoid spreading their germs, inevitably germs do get spread, especially in the work place. One way to avoid the risk of catching the flu is to get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot puts you at an advantage during this time of year.

Stop the spread of germs today. Use proper cough etiquette and use the vaccines available to you to prevent catching an unwanted bug.

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