Cough Etiquette: Why It’s So Important
If you’re sick, there are polite, considerate and safe ways to manage your symptoms, while also protecting those around you. Follow these tips for good cough etiquette.
If there were ever a perfect time to practice good hygiene etiquette, it’s now.
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But rest assured, there are polite, considerate and safe ways to manage your symptoms, while also protecting those around you.
Here’s what you need to know if you find yourself coughing or sneezing in public.
If you’re coughing or sneezing in public, particularly in a healthcare space like a waiting room or the ER, you may be asked to wear a mask. Try not to take offense to this – it’s for everyone’s safety, including your own.
If you’re not wearing a mask, follow these guidelines:
“When you cough into the air, you can actually send germs as far as 3 to 6 feet in front of you,” explains infection disease specialist Frank Esper, MD. “And if you cough into your hands, you could transfer germs from place to place when you touch something else.”
Serious respiratory viruses are commonly spread by unclean hands and touching your face after touching contaminated surfaces. So it’s incredibly important to wash your hands and to always cover up your cough or sneeze.
More hygiene etiquette tips for when you’re sick:
And if you’re feeling under the weather – please please please stay home (or keep your kids home from school). You’ll be doing your part if you stay home and rest. Don’t drag the germs into public with you.
When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of caution, especially if you’ve been in contact with someone who has already been sick. Stay home from school or work and call your doctor ahead of time before going in for an appointment.
Flu symptoms can include: