SOME advice is so old, so tried-and-true. So ingrained in our psyches that it is buried; we tend to forget it because it is covered over by other good advice.
One such is to cover our mouths when we yawn, cough, sneeze. Everybody knows what to do, except everybody doesn't know what to do, except everybody doesn't do it.
But winter and cold and flu season comes around like clockwork and we need gentle reminders to keep a tight leash on our germs, lest they infect others.
Do cover your mouth when you sneeze, preferably with a tissue. Archive photo.
To help, some folks at the Texas A&M Health Science Center undertook an experiment using dye to determine the best way to keep as many germs at bay as possible when sneezing. Do watch the video to see graphic illustrations.
Of course the worst, which should go without saying but won't, is to sneeze without covering your mouth. It's gross, it's ill- mannered and inconsiderate and it gives germs carte blanche to travel hither and yon, spreading illness.
The vampire sneeze has its merits and demerits. Archive photo.
Covering your mouth with your hand(s) is markedly better than hands-free but still gives germs to much free reign. Then your hands go on to touch this, that and the other.
Placing your nose and mouth at the crook of your elbow and sneezing into your sleeve, resulting in a Count Dracula-like pose, is significantly better. Alas, germs are now living high on the hog; that is, on your sleeve. But as the experimenters point out, far fewer people will come into contact with your sleeve than with your hand.
At press time, Brooks Brothers Pure Cotton Handkerchiefs (package of seven) are marked down to $26.95 (from $35.) http://www.bit.ly/2iAoaD1
By far the best way to handle the errant germs is to sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately.
Do note that a handkerchief can serve the same purpose as a tissue. However, it would have to be folded and stored in a secure location until it can be laundered. In the end, then, the tissue is the best option.