Dec. 29, 2006
Health Department Launches 'Sneeze into Your Sleeve' TV Campaign
This winter you may notice people sneezing and coughing into their sleeve or the bend of their arms rather than their hands when they don't have a tissue. It may look strange at first, but public health professionals say it's a better way to sneeze and cough that doesn't spread cold and flu germs.
“The new lesson that health officials are teaching, for those who don't have a tissue handy, is to 'sneeze into your sleeve,'” said Kathleen Smith, Director of Public Health Services for the Oswego County Health Department. “The same goes for coughing. That way, cold and flu germs don't get transferred from people's hands to keyboards, door knobs, stair railings or other items. Many school kids have already learned to do this, but most adults haven't heard that message.”
Television ads that show how germs are spread when people don't cough or sneeze properly are airing on stations across New York State over the next few weeks, including the Syracuse and Watertown markets. The New York State Health Department is sponsoring the ads, along with public service announcements over several local radio stations.
Many adults grew up being taught to sneeze and cough into their hands when they didn't have a tissue.
“Covering our mouths kept the germs from spreading into the air - - but not by spreading from our hands,” said Smith. “That's why the state and local health departments are reminding adults to sneeze and cough into the bend of their elbow, not their hands, when a tissue isn't handy. It's a courteous and simple way to keep our germs to ourselves.”
To help stop the spread of germs, especially during this flu and cold season health officials also suggest:
“Practicing these simple actions will help you and your family stay healthy during this cold and flu season,” said Smith.
People who would like educational materials on how to stay well during the flu season may call the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547.
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