People Don’t Cover Coughs And Sneezes Enough

NEW ZEALAND, HEALTHRELATEDINFOS – A recent study shows that most people in New Zealand do not cover their coughs and sneezes.The study was done last year during the H1N1 swine fly pandemic to see how quickly the disease could potentially spread. Public health officials recommend that people use a tissue of their elbow to cover their sneezes and coughs.Many people use their hands, but this usually does more bad than good.

Dr. Nick Wilson of Otago University, New Zealand had 13 medical students watched people at a train station, hospital and a shopping mall for a month, in the middle of the swine fly pandemic.

The students saw 384 coughs and sneezes. Fewer than 5 percent were covered with a tissue, handkerchief or elbow. More than a quarter of those coughs were not covered at all, and nearly two thirds of the time people covered their coughs and sneezes with their hands. Still, a hand is better than nothing.

“Probably the major transmission is from exposure to uncovered coughing, rather than contaminated surfaces,” Wilson said in his email. He went on to say that coughing without a cover is closed settings is the worst, and gives individuals in the area the largest chance of being infected.

The findings show that many are not educated on the proper way to cover your mouth when you cough. The most recommended practice today is to cough into a tissue or into your elbow.

The students found that the worst area to be in was at the hospital entrance, where no one covered their cough or sneeze. Roughly 12 percent of coughs and sneezes were covered with a tissue and 6 percent by the elbow.

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