Health Care

How to Prevent the Spread of Germs When Coughing and Sneezing

A man sneezing while at home on his couch.
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Properly covering your coughs and sneezes is very important to reduce spreading germs when you’re ill. While sneezing and coughing may not always be linked to a serious illness, they are symptoms of the flu and COVID-19, so to protect others around you, practice these steps towards proper coughing and sneezing etiquette.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), serious respiratory illnesses like the flu, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), whooping cough and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) are spread by coughing, sneezing and unclean hands — whether by touching your face after touching contaminated objects or touching objects after contaminating your hands. To prevent the spread of germs when coughing and sneezing, the CDC recommends:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • If you find yourself without a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve rather than your hands
  • Move away from people if you feel a cough or sneeze coming on
  • Put your used tissue in a waste basket

After coughing or sneezing, wash your hands immediately with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. Viruses that cause illnesses can live on your hands, so regular hand-washing can make a big impact in preventing germ spreading.

Person-To-Person Germ Spread

According to the CDC, it’s thought that both the flu and coronavirus spread mainly through person-to-person contact, predominately when an infected person is showing the most symptoms, but it’s possible that the virus could be spread before someone infected has symptoms.

These illnesses move from person-to-person through respiratory droplets that enter the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Once airborne, these droplets then enter other people via their mouth or nose. This is why proper coughing and sneezing etiquette is especially important now as we try to contain viruses.

Easy Tips to Prevent the Spread of Germs

While practicing safe sneezing and coughing etiquette, if you’re ill you can also help protect others with the following tips:

  • Avoid hugging, kissing or shaking hands
  • Disinfect common surfaces, such as doorknobs, television remotes and countertops
  • Get your seasonal flu vaccine at your primary care physician’s office or an AdventHealth Centra Care Urgent Care location
  • Stay at home if you don’t feel well

Prevent the Spread of Germs with Centra Care Urgent Care

Flu prevention is imperative to a community's health. Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can lead to a number of health complications. By taking proactive measures we can significantly reduce the spread of the flu virus. This not only protects our own health but also helps to shield those who are more susceptible to severe flu-related outcomes.

Flu prevention not only alleviates the burden on healthcare systems during flu seasons but also contributes to the overall well-being of communities by fostering a healthier, more resilient population. Here are some ways you can support flu care in your area:

  • Get your seasonal flu vaccine
  • Get your flu tests and treatment as soon as symptoms present themselves

See Centra Care Urgent Care for Flu Treatment

For more information on the flu, or to get your annual flu shot make an online reservation at any AdventHealth Centra Care location.

At Centra Care we believe health should be measured in terms of the whole person — body, mind and spirit. And it’s our mission and promise to you to help you feel whole through compassionate care and world-class expertise. Open seven days a week, with evening hours, our walk-in clinics are located in Central Florida, Tampa, Kansas, and North Carolina. Walk-ins are always welcome or make an online reservation.

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