Cover Your Cough & Sneeze

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases! Many respiratory diseases are spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, including the common cold, the flu, bacterial meningitis, whooping cough (pertussis), measles, chicken pox and SARS.

To help stop the spread of germs:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Put your used tissue in the wastebasket.
  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, clean with alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

When in a hospital or clinic:

When in a hospital or a clinic, everyone is expected to practice respiratory etiquette. Patients and visitors with fever, cough or rash may be asked to:

  • Wash hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer often.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Use tissues when coughing or sneezing.
  • Sit a safe distance (three feet or more) away from other patients.