Few people cover coughs and sneezes

Coughs
and sneezes spread diseases but most of us still do not cover our nose and
mouth and those who do, do it badly, research has shown.

Covering
your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing is not is simply just good
manners but it is also a vital public health measure to combat outbreaks of
infectious diseases.

But
research conducted during the swine flu pandemic last year found that just one
in four people actually do cover their nose and mouth.

Moreover
only 5 per cent of people do it correctly.

Expert
advice is to use a tissue or to sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow.
This means that the germs do not get onto hands from where they can be spread
onto surfaces that others will touch.

The
study which is thought to be the only one ever conducted into coughing and
sneezing habits in real life involved observing the general public in a train
station, a hospital and a shopping mall in New Zealand.

There
had already been public health campaigns publicising that people should use a
tissue or cough and sneeze into their elbow but still the numbers actually
doing so were low.

The findings were presented
at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases, in Atlanta,
Georgia, America.

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