Captain Obvious Reports: Don’t Cough Into Your HAND, Silly!

Okay, this one I’m embarrassed  about.

“If  you cough, cough into your hand or fist.”  That’s what I was told as a child, what I’ve always done, and what I’ve taught Son.

Never in all those years did it ever occur  to me that coughing into my hand actually endangers more people than coughing into a crowded elevator.

Why does it endanger more?  Because I then use that hand to shake yours, or to turn the doorknob, or to move hangers on a clothes rack.  So the viral or bacterial germs go from my wretchedly sick insides to my hand, where I pass them onto whomever or whatever I come in contact with, leaving whomever or whatever they come in contact with free to share  some more.


It makes much more sense to cough into a tissue (and immediate dispose of it).  If a tissue is unavailable then the best thing to do is cough into your elbow.  At least then the germs aren’t  as easily spread, though I recommend steering clear of any mosh pits or orgies.

But then, I’d recommend that anyway.  At least until you’re well.

So my new mantra to Son will be, “Cough into your elbow”.

I’m sure many of you figured this out ages ago and didn’t need a Captain Obvious Report.

But for those of you out there who regularly or temporarily reside in Oblivia, Captain Obvious bulletins are helpful, aren’t they?

2 Responses to “Captain Obvious Reports: Don’t Cough Into Your HAND, Silly!”

  1. Vanessa Says:

    I typically cough into my shoulder or elbow and they very nicely teach that at preschool as well.

    My Captain Oblivious moment came this week as I watched the Ellen show and she showed how there are little tabs on the sides of tinfoil and plastic wrap boxes that you push in to hold the roll in place. I never knew this….

  2. John Says:

    Yes, I agree totally! What gets me is that every time you see a news segment about how to avoid spreading germs during the cold and flu season, they NEVER mention anything like this. I cough onto the back of my wrist. It made sense to me since I never do anything with the back of my wrist. Whoever came up with the idea of coughing into the hand apparently didn’t know that there were germs in that cough or sneeze. It was probably more of a way to avoid spraying someone else. That habit was passed on and stuck, surprisingly without the medical community making the connection either. Wash your hands, they say. Good advice, but I have to open a door to get there.

    Oh, and I never use the tabs on the sides of the plastic wrap, because I usually have to pull the roll out of the box to find the end of the wrap. While it sticks to itself very well, it doesn’t stick to the little place in front of the box and inevitably retreats to the roll inside.

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