This is the way we all should cough/sneeze

The increasing cases of confirmed coronavirus victims outside China is spreading mass fear. And the rising number of Swine Flu cases in India are just adding to the scare. However, ask any infection specialist, and they will tell you two things – wash your hands and ‘sneeze/cough’ correctly. You may ask, what do we mean by ‘sneeze correctly’? There are studies that suggest germs and flu virus can stay suspended in the air longer than we think. Well, if you have had a sick colleague attending work, sneezing and coughing co-passengers in a metro or a random passerby who coughs in the air, you may know what we mean.
Sneeze/cough droplets can survive for longer

A study at MIT found that sneeze droplets can travel up to two meters and sometimes up to 8 meters. Depending on the ventilation of a particular space, they can spread across the room within a few seconds and stay there for close to ten minutes. Moreover, the study discovered that flu virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 24 hours and touching those surfaces can spread the infection. So covering your mouth while sneezing/coughing is essential to stop the nasty spread of infections.

The right way to sneeze/cough
So now let’s come to the point about ‘coughing and sneezing correctly’. For starters, if you are down with the flu, it is best to keep a stack of tissues close. Cough/sneeze into a thick tissue (keep it thicker if you are also coughing mucus). Make sure you use the same side every time and avoid touching that side to any other surface. Try folding it in half and use the inner side to cough or sneeze (make sure you fold it back every time). Keep dumping it every hour or two.

However, sneezing often comes unannounced and you may not have a tissue handy. In such cases, the perfect cough/sneeze etiquette is to sneeze in the crook of your elbows. This is an effective way to prevent the outspread of virus and gunk to people around you.

If this means breaking a long habit, do it for the safety of people around you! In fact whoever reads this article should share it with 10 more to ensure we can contain the spread of flu and dangerous virus. Stay safe!
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