How to Sneeze

How to sneezeKleenex is out, disposable arm bands are not yet de rigeur, so what’s the alternative when you just have to sneeze or cough? Use your sleeve, that’s what. It’s the most effective way to reduce the spread of cold and flu viruses. Coughing into the open air without covering your mouth simply releases a myriad of viral and bacterial particles into the air around you. If there’s no one else around that’s not so bad, but just picture those droplets of spittle and snot flying in the video we’re going to show you here and you’ll think again.

Perhaps worse than open-air sneezing is inappropriate Kleenex use. If you don’t cover your nose and mouth properly then you might as well not bother. Coughing or sneezing into your hand is worse still. Germs will contaminate your hands, you touch a door knob or handle food and those germs get transferred to the next person who touches said objects. The video, which comes from the Maine Medical Association suggests your sleeve is the way forward. Cough or sneeze on to your sleeve and the germs will simply dry out and die.

It’s not just a matter of avoiding the sniffles, if we’re heading for a major viral epidemic from bird flu or something worse then the advice in this video could save lives. Listen to what the panel of experts – Polly Morph, Graham Stain, Blood Hagar – have to say. There’s a useful science fair project that can help you answer the question, “Does covering your mouth stop germs spreading?” and if you’re after more advice on how to avoid colds and flu check out the Sciencebase FAQ on the subject.

For advice on how to stop a sneeze, check out this site.

20 thoughts on “How to Sneeze”

  1. Man up, Appalled, you don’t always have time to get a handkerchief, more to the point, health advice is to use only disposable tissues. And, anyway who said anything about splurting saliva and mucus (note the spelling!) on to one’s clothes, have you got no control over your mouthparts?

  2. The idea of coughing and sneezing one’s own saliva and mucous into one’s own outer clothing is utterly disgusting. At least carry a handkerchief, and learn how to use it!

  3. well omg we r used 2 msn hahahah

    i dnt reli care anymorez ayy lol

    i just wanna find some info i have these skool hols nd it has 2 b in so yeaa

    soz man i g2g nd do some reaserch


    lada braahh xo

  4. Sammii

    You didn’t have just a little typo, your posts are littered with grammar and spelling errors. Moreover, I wasn’t bitting your head off. I was simply pointing out that you ought to take more care with your writing as it is one aspect of your assignment that the person marking it will take into consideration when awarding a grade.

  5. Hay everyone ..

    Im Sammii’s cuzen


    How are you all?

    So what is the science subject here guys??

    And can you please give us some info about it??

    Because we both have an assignment to do.

    Thank you.

    Bye everyone xoxo Jayden

  6. Well David,

    I do know how to spell gross i had a LITTLE “typo” no need to bite my head of ok.

    Anyway what i ment by ‘Thingy’ was the sneez conversation because i have another assingment and this isn’t helping me one little bit so far. Sorry for the incovinience of ACSEDENTLY miss-typing my words ok.

    Thanks very much for all this info everyone..!

    But keep it going because i have an assingment to finish :P



  7. Samii, you’re (note apostrophe) in year 7, and you don’t know how to spell gross? That’s quite bizarre. But, on a serious note, what “thingy” are you talking about? You mean the video clip. I doubt it would really have much impact on the spread of rhinoviruses (cold germs, nothing to do with large horned mammals)

  8. Ok david lol

    Your funny your like corecting my spelling but you don’t ahve 2 im only in year 7.

    But anyways back onto the sneez thing.

    If every1 had that thingy do u all relise that there will not be so much colds :D lol

    Yea can every keep the comments going??



  9. ok David

    you have a point it would be more gross 2 sneez into the air hehe

    yea its just that wouldnt the snot dry out ns stay ,well thats wot i thought it would b!!!


    keep commenting its fun coz im bored

    xx sammii

  10. Sammii, I don’t think sneezing into your sleeve is as gross (note spelling) as sneezing straight into the air. You don’t have to let the snot cover your shoulder do you, there are ways and means!


  11. that is sooo grose

    i need to do an asssingment ha

    i already said that but all well

    i would have thought that doing that would spread more germs

  12. OMG ewww and i have to do that for an assignment

    haha its a bit funny if you think about it hehe

    but yea i no im not goning to be doing that ha

  13. A perennial question from Sciencebase visitors is, “Does covering the mouth really help prevent the spread of germs?” Well, it most certainly does, but not if you cover your mouth with your bare hand and then proceed to touch door handles and, perish the thought, shake hands with other people!


  14. Recent research suggests that the spread of influenza could be an underlying risk factor for schizophrenia and autism, given that incidence of these disorders are higher among people born during the winter and spring months and that the association is second trimester respiratory tract infection in pregnant women.

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