Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cover That Up!!!

As we have now officially moved into the Fall season, that means we are headed in the cold and flu season. This post is just as much a public service announcement (PSA) as it is a personal pet peeve. To everyone reading this post, please cover your sneezes and coughs with your elbow, handkerchief, tissue, napkin, etc. etc. and whatever you do, please do not sneeze into your hands or into the open air. Please not only read this post, but share the message with everyone you know. I don't know about you, but it bugs the heck out of me to be attempting to enjoy my meal at a restaurant and someone begins openly sneezing, blowing his/her nose, or harking or coughing all over the place. At that point it is very hard for me not to be turned off from my meal. I am sure I am not alone.

The following question was posed to

Question: How Far Do Germs Spread When You Sneeze?
Answer: Germs from a sneeze can travel up to 91.44 cm -152.4 cm depending on the magnitude of the sneeze. It is estimated that germs can travel with a speed of 128.8 km per hour. This is because the germs are entangled in a sneeze droplet that is too heavy to be suspended in the air.

 According to eHow Contributor, Laurie Meekis, sneezes are a sure way to spread germs quickly. A seemingly innocuous sneeze sends germs flying through the air. Even though you can’t see them, they are launched out where everyone can breathe them in. It is good to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, but there are a couple of ways to do it that will be less likely to spread germs from you to someone else. It's a good thing to teach kids, too.

Ms. Meekis offers three very good suggestions to cut down on the spread of germs from sneezing and coughing that I wholeheartedly agree with.

(1) If you feel a sneeze coming, get ready. Using your hand is better than letting it go out into the air but not the best way to keep from spreading your germs. Once the sneeze or cough is on your hand, then what? Chances are you may not be near a bathroom if you are out in public so that you can wash your hands. So you end up touching surfaces of things that other people will then come along and touch, or you may touch another person directly. Either way, you just passed along what you carefully tried to cover up with your hand. Kids are notorious for touching everything, so imagine how easily they spread or receive germs when they are around each other.

(2) Use your shoulder instead when you have to sneeze or cough. Bend your shoulder and turn your face toward your shoulder to sneeze, covering your mouth completely but not blocking the air flowing out completely. If you block a sneeze or hold your nose, you can damage your ears. There has to be some way for the sneeze to release itself. When you sneeze or cough into your own shoulder, you are far less likely to be touching something and spreading your germs.

(3) Try the crook of your elbow as an alternate way to sneeze or cough. Lift your arm toward your face and sneeze or cough into the bent crook of your elbow. One advantage to either of these techniques is, they can be done when your arms may be full with something else and you can’t drop it to suddenly cover a sneeze or cough.

How to Sneeze Properly -- powered by ehow

Scientists have discovered that it takes just a single sneeze from a flu sufferer to spread germs around an entire room and the contamination can last for hours.Researchers have found that the microscopic infected droplets emitted in a cough or sneeze float around the air in large enough concentrations to spread disease.Breathing in airborne specks of virus found in a typical office, doctor’s surgery, plane or train could infect a person after just one hour.

So as we head into the cold and flu season, please be considerate of others who may be around you and would not appreciate becoming ill because of your failure to "Cover that up." Something to critically think about and act upon. I welcome your commentary in the comment section and you are welcome to follow the critical thinker on Twitter @thecriticalthinker01.

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