The following question was posed to Ask.com:
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.