You’ve been sneezing WRONG your whole life – and it’s fuelling the spread of nasty germs
Sneezing is your body’s natural reflex to banish nasty germs from your nose, propelling them up to four metres.
THE mornings are getting darker and the weather cooler, which can mean just one thing – winter is coming.
And with winter comes the inevitable onslaught of colds and flu.
Those nasty viruses are spread far and wide, once one colleague is infected the sniffles spread like wild fire round the office.
Sneezing is your body’s natural reflex to banish nasty germs from your nose lining.
But knowing the correct way to sneeze can help stop the spread of those germs, one expert told The Sun Online.
Lisa Ackerley, aka The Hygiene Doctor, said people should adopt the “elbow sneeze” to avoid spreading bugs.
She said: “Current thinking is that sneezing or coughing into your elbow is the best way to do it.
“The problem with sneezing into your hand, even if you have got a tissue, is that the virus particles can get through the tissue and on to your hands.
The best way to avoid spreading germs is to sneeze into your elbow if you cannot wash your hands straight away.
“A limited amount [of germs] get through a tissue, so it is better than nothing, but it is not a complete barrier.
“If you’re in a position where you’re not going to be able to wash your hands after you have sneezed then the best place is into your elbow.”
While you may not be able to see them, there are thousands of droplets filled with germs that land on your hand.
And if you don’t wash your hands they get transferred on to your phone, keyboard, coffee mug… anything you touch.
“It is all about the journey of the germ really,” Dr Ackerley told The Sun Online.
“The worst thing, really, is that people sneeze into their hands or cough into their hands and then go off and shake hands with loads of people and touch surfaces and the virus gets transferred to those surfaces and back on to other people.
“It is often thought that the only way you can get a cold is by someone sneezing or coughing into your face but actually hand contact is very important.”
Germs from a sneeze can travel a whopping four metres if you don’t cover your mouth.
And they can live for up to 45 minutes.
That’s plenty of time for them to infect several people.
Dr Ackerley added: “If you do nothing and sneeze into a crowded room then virus particles can land on loads of different surfaces and people.
“And you only need one particle to make you ill because they replicate in your body.
“So that’s why it is important to try and contain those germs as much as you can.”
But what if you have a horrible cold that you’d rather not sneeze all over the crook of your arm.
Or what if you are out and about and can’t wash your hands straight away?
Washing your hands after you have sneezed is the best way to stop the spread of germs.
Antibacterial hand gel is the answer, according to Dr Ackerley.
She said many hand sanitisers can protect against colds and flu, killing germs on your hands before they have a chance to infect you.
They also kill the germs you’ve sneezed into your hand before you can infect anyone else.
“Having something like that with you means that if you do sneeze into a tissue you can use the hand gel afterwards if you can’t wash your hands,” Dr Ackerley said.
“And they are good to have with you when you are out and about anyway because if you do have an urge to rub your contact lens or something like that then at least you can sanitise your hands.
“You are protecting yourself as well as others.”