Family Health, Your Health Seth Stratton | 5 years ago

Science Uncovers the Best Way to Cover a Sneeze

When random debris – dust, pollen, germs – unexpectedly ransacks your nose, the all-powerful sneeze is your body’s natural reflex to protect itself.

Each time you sneeze – no matter how big or small it is – you spread germs. But where the germs end up, and how much surface area the sneeze spray covers, depends on how you catch your sneeze. Keep your family germ-free this cold and flu season with these tips. Carolinas HealthCare System explains how to catch a sneeze.

This is How You Sneeze, If You Please…

During a November 2016 study conducted at the Texas A&M University Health Science Center newsroom, scientists uncovered the best way to cover – or catch – a sneeze. From crude to proven, here are four ways people sneeze – but only one way is the best.

No Hands (Gross!)

The spray of 40,000 droplets rockets outward to cover surfaces up to 10 feet away – and they can live wherever they land for weeks. You might want to rethink picking up magazines in a waiting room, or keep antibacterial wipes handy – though nothing beats washing your hands.

Use Your Hands (Ewww!)

If you try to stop the germs from spraying everywhere with your mitts, wash them right away for at least 30 seconds using soap and warm water. Sneezing in your hands is a good way to spread germs to your computer, phone, doorknobs or other people.

Use Your Sleeve (Dab Nation!)

Some call it the vampire method, but in the Carolinas you could call it the Dab method; sneezing this way carries fewer risks of contaminating your surroundings. While still not the best way to sneeze, if you choose the sleeve, be sure to cover your nose and mouth.

Grab a Tissue (The Winner!)

To keep germs from spreading, cover your nose and mouth with a thick tissue. Once you use a tissue, throw it away. Wash your hands for extra protection.

Quick Sneeze Specifics

What makes a sneeze so special?
  • Sneeze spray can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour
  • A sneeze can change the rhythm of your heart
  • You can’t stop a sneeze once it starts
  • You can’t sneeze in your sleep

How to Stop a Sneeze

If you think it’s too late to stop a sneeze, you’re probably right. It’s better to let it out – without infecting everyone around you. But these tricks might help stop a sneeze before it sneaks up on you:
  • Rub or wiggle your nose
  • Breathe forcefully through your nose
  • Press your upper lip below the nose