September 2, 2009

"Practice coughing and sneezing into your sleeve."

Advice from "A Guide for UW–Madison Students: What You Can Do About the Flu." (PDF.)

Sleeve-sneezing... learn it before you have sneeze. And quit touching your face.

May I offer a piece of advice that is not in the flier? Don't touch doorknobs. Outside of my own house, I never touch doorknobs. How is that accomplished? Well, again, your sleeve can come in handy — but not part you use for sleeve-sneezing. You can also use gloves, a paper towel (when leaving a bathroom where you've washed your hands), or wait for someone else to open the door (when they are pushing out and you need to go in).

92 comments:

John Stodder said...

Sleeve-sneezing is especially helpful for those whose hands are always engaged in texting while drinking Starbucks or eating a donut.

wv: goide. Da guy who shows you da stuff in a muzeem.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well here in Hoosierland us hicks were taught to use a hankie.

That's handkerchief for you edumakated city folks who use your sleeves to wipe your snot.

Ann Althouse said...

Hoosier, you have to touch the hankie with your hands, so I don't see that working.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Hoosier, you have to touch the hankie with your hands, so I don't see that working.

The point is not to get germs from OTHER people. You already have your own germs and presumably have developed anti-bodies....otherwise we would all be dead.

Touching money is probably one of the dirtiest and germiest things around. Worse than toilet stalls or bathroom door knobs.

Maybe we should all go back to the gentile days of yore when ladies (and gentlemen) wore gloves when in public. Wearing gloves would keep the germs on the gloves and not on your skin. In addition when wearing gloves you are more cognizant of where your hands are and less likely to touch your face, nose or eyes.

Randy said...

John: That reminds me of my journalism teacher in high school: reading the LA Times, taking sips of coffee while smoking a cigarette, and taking curlers out of her hair before applying lipstick while driving to work. *lol* Thanks for the memory!

traditionalguy said...

On Cruise ships that fight Norwalk type viruses all day long, the alcohol hand sanitisers are everywhere, and especially at the head of the food lines. In the bathrooms there is a separate paper dispenser next to the door to use to open the door with with its separate wastecan next to the door. One interesting fact is that washing hands in hot soapy water really removes the germs/viruses much better than alcohol lotions can kill them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Nowadays you see the hand sanitizer stations in grocery stores. The handles of the carts are just crawling with germs. And don't even think about the dirty diapered baby bottoms that sit on the riding part of the cart and all the snot nosed kids that ride in the carts.

I use hand sanitizer every time after I go grocery shopping.... before I touch the steering wheel of my car.

ironrailsironweights said...

Swine flu advice for women: don't get pregnant. Pregnant women are less than 1% of the U.S. population but account for somewhere between 6% and 12% of swine flu deaths.

Peter

SaysMeow said...

I used to use one of the servants to turn doorknobs, but they kept dying from horrible diseases. Ingrates.

Now I prefer blowtorch-in-a-can. 15 seconds ought to do it; the knob should glow a dull red. But you have to shoo away sickly-looking folks during the cooldown period.

rdkraus said...

I you combine some of these comments you get:

Sneeze in your own hankerchief.

Use your hankerchief to touch door handles.

Ewwwww.

How did any of us not die years ago, before all this nanny-like advice?

Made me remember one more thing I approve of with Obama - rides bike without helmet.

David said...

Kleenex? Handkerchiefs? Call them face condoms, and perhaps the students will get it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Having a chivalrous man around to open doors for you also helps. I hear they can sometimes be found in your own comments section.

Paddy O. said...

"How did any of us not die years ago, before all this nanny-like advice?"

Most people did die years ago.

Hoosier Daddy said...

We should all just walk around in body condoms. Obviously those with latex allergies can opt for the lambskin kind but I don't know if those will be as effective in preventing the transmission of germs.

This is the only way we're going to survive as a species.

Bissage said...

Dear God, No!!!

Hoosier Daddy said...

Oh and we need to keep these germs going because its the only thing that will ultimately save us when the Martians invade with their Tripods.

I'm not kidding.

Balfegor said...

You can also use gloves . . .

I will definitely try the one-glove thing. Like Michael Jackson, or Dr. Strangelove.

Smilin' Jack said...

Can we also abandon the stupid and extremely unsanitary practice of shaking hands? I don't want to touch anyone I don't want to sleep with.

Synova said...

Hoosier Daddy, there's some research into finding out if a lack of internal worms contributes to modern rates of autism.

One day we'll be inoculating our children with parasite pills.

Synova said...

My kids are being told to sleeve-sneeze or cough in school. I suppose it's better than spewing germs into the air.

Makes me think of Napoleon (supposedly) designing military uniforms to have buttons all up the sleeve to stop the rank and file from wiping snot all over.

Original Mike said...

How does one practice sneezing?

Beth said...

We got that same basic memo from our Provost today. It recommended we be interventionist and if we see an obviously "ill-looking" student to tell that person to go home! Get outta here, kid, with your runny nose.

I teach in classrooms where every student has a computer; I'm also in charge of keeping those classrooms in working order, so I touch about 100 keyboards/mice a few times a month.

I mounted Purell dispensers on the wall last year, and managed to avoid the flu for the first time in years. I'm thinking of putting on a holster and keeping a can of Lysol in there - I can whip it out and spray a cone of protection around me when a snuffly student approaches to discuss homework.

Chase said...

Wow, Ann, you too?

I never touch doorknobs outside my home either.

My younger brother caught pneumonia at the age of 10. Since our father was in the military, my brother ended up staying in a naval hospital for 4 days in a room where the other patient was a sailor who fit the "South Pacific" stereotype - hard living, hard swearin', and just plain loud when his buddies visited. The stories about my brother's stay was enough to make him, me and our siblings afraid of ever getting sick and going into the hospital again.

So - I also wash my hands (soap and water - don't worry, it's not anti-bacterial) frequently through out the day.

So far - none of us (5 boys) has been back for any hospital stays since my brother's 41 years ago.

chuck b. said...

I usually sneeze inside my shirt...if that makes any sense. I think avoiding door knobs is a little over the top though. But then again I don't have your record of perfect work attendance to defend so I'm not one to talk.

Chase said...

I'm thinking of putting on a holster and keeping a can of Lysol in there - I can whip it out and spray a cone of protection around me when a snuffly student approaches to discuss homework

Ahhh - the visual.

Donna B. said...

I'd hate to see us come to view other people primarily as germ carriers.

However, some people are incredibly stupid. A few days ago, my daughter saw a woman put her crawling baby on the floor of a truckstop bathroom.

The woman and her friend (who could have held the baby) both left without washing their hands.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm thinking of putting on a holster and keeping a can of Lysol in there - I can whip it out and spray a cone of protection around me when a snuffly student approaches to discuss homework

LOL Cone of protection.

I have a friend who began driving school bus for elementary students. He calls the kids (affectionally because he really does like them) the "snot balls". Ever since he started driving bus, he gets sick with colds all the time.

Kids are petri dishes full of germs.

AJ Lynch said...

I recall the first time I ever saw the elbow sneeze method.

It was in a doctor's wating room and the sneezer was a young drug rep waiting to get in to pitch some meds to the doctor.

My reaction then was where in bumfuck did this dumb kid grow up!

bearbee said...

Wash canned goods, bottles other items from grocery stores where multiple hands have handled.

Avoid community popcorn and other open food sources.

Ditto regarding germy money

Use hand sanitizers and kleenex.

And yes, keep your fingers out of your mouth.

wv - fluem: not if I can avoid it.

traditionalguy said...

Handling test papers and reports turned in by sick students may also need a disinfectant method. Freezing, heating, just waiting 4 days to touch them???

bearbee said...

Freezing, heating, just waiting 4 days to touch them???

Tongs

wv - strap: close enough

kimsch said...

hoosier @ 1:41 - LOL! So loud in fact that my husband came in the room to see what I was laughing about. He loved it too.

VW: ingst = fear of inside

Hoosier Daddy said...

I will definitely try the one-glove thing. Like Michael Jackson, or Dr. Strangelove.

In the interest of accuracy Bissage, Dr. Strangelove had a prosthetic arm, not just a glove. Michael Jackson had a real glove and a prosthetic nose.

As you were.

Maxine Weiss said...

I love it:

A woman who collects tank-tops by the truckload, is now touting long sleeves as a medicinal/preventative for world plagues.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Thanks kimsch. My true goal in life is to spread joy and happiness throughout the world and I am glad I was able to include you in my sphere of influence.

Lottery picks tonight in Hoosierland. I'm hoping to finally win so I can spend the remainder of my days cycling, sampling fine beer and continuing to spread joy around Althouse and drive liberals insane. Well more insane than they already are.

MadisonMan said...

Sleeve-sneezing is also taught in Madison schools.

I rely on my immune system to stay well. I get enough sleep, eat healthy foods. My house is cold. If I die from some plague, well, really that's the last of my worries.

I can't stand seeing those hand sanitizers everywhere. All it means is that we're breeding germs that are resistant to the sanitation.

Original Mike said...

At the supermarket Saturday, the woman in front of me picked up every single head of Bibb lettuce on the shelf. Don't know what she thought she was looking for (they looked fine to me).

rhhardin said...

The major cold-preventative is use the U-Scan in the supermarket.

You avoid high school cashiers and baggers.

Kirby Olson said...

Scenario: two people standing on opposite sides of the door, each waiting for the other to open it.

Beth said...

MadMan, I'm hoping those resistant germs are the next generation's problem - sort of a reverse Death Panel thing.

I realize the problem with the gels, but watching students sneeze onto their screens and keyboards and just wipe their nose with the back of their hand and keep working ... knowing in an hour another person will be at that desk. Well, what else can you do?

Slow Joe said...

Althouse's 'wait until they open the door for me' method bight not be very sustainable for society, but it's what I do.

I think a major improvement would be to design doors to operate by foot. Some kind of button or step or kick panel (with tension behind it) or just IR motion sensors. Public doors should not require hands to operate.

Beth said...

traditionalguy,

Frozen crispy papers sound appealing. But I just require everything be sent to me online. I mark 'em up using MS Word's Comments, and send them back. Sterile 1s and 0s, no exchange of bodily fluids.

Original Mike said...

sort of a reverse Death Panel thing.

That's one way to bend the curve.

Original Mike said...

Well, except for those computer viruses, Beth.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Henry said...

Am I the only person here with kids under eight? Doorknobs and bibb lettuce are the least of my problems.

mccullough said...

Also, bring your own pen to the pharmacy when you have to sign out for your prescription.

Under no circumstances should you use the pen they have tied to the counter.

Maxine Weiss said...

But, how can you be sure--keep track-- which part of your sleeve was used to open the door, and which part was used to push the elevator button ?

Unless you are marking off sleeve sections with a highlighter, it seems to me, all germs are going to be commingled.

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ignorance is Bliss said...

At a company I used to work for they apparently thought that people were taking too many sick days, so they started giving out cash bonuses quarterly for anyone with perfect attendence.

We took to calling them the Typhoid Mary awards.

AJ Lynch said...

Knock wood [taps own head] I rarely get sick but you folks all sound like hypocondriacs.

Bissage said...

If, by accident, one should happen to touch a door knob, the only fully reliable remedy is to burn off a layer of skin and pray for a happy ending.

Rick Lee said...

My wife is an epidemiologist so I have been trained by the best. I always cough and sneeze into my sleeve. Just remember to carry hand sanitizer with you at all times... then it doesn't really matter if you MUST touch a doorknob or shake hands with somebody... just use the gel before you have to touch anything else. And never put your fingers in your mouth or eyes. It's astonishing how seldom I get a cold nowadays compared to my "pre-training". It's been so many years since I've had the flu that I can't even remember when that might have been.

miller said...

Perhaps we should just stay in our cocoons and avoid all human contact, just as EM Forster predicted.

WF: deddenfe, as in "Since I got Swine Flu, every time I blow my nose I release deddenfe from my scalp."

MadisonMan said...

They're not kids.

They're disease vectors.

reader_iam said...

There's almost no substitute for a healthy immune system. The question is, what's the best way to develop one, and how well have we been doing that, especially over the last 25-30 years?

prairie wind said...

What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

I buttress that philosophy with a strict don't-touch-your-face rule.

Roger J. said...

Ignorance is Bliss: you think THAT's bad? I work in a major County/City Health Department, and our HR maggots also use that policy.

Ann Althouse said...

BTW, I've had 1 cold in 15 years.

AllenS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

Ok, I really am sorry that I have to remind everyone, but John Kerry was way ahead of everyone: idiot

WV: gracr

Grace removed.

Cedarford said...

My probably worthless comments:

1. Flu spreads. Nothing you do will stop it. Rates of infection are practically identical in nations that do the whole quarantine, wearing painters dust mask things..Unless you live on a remote island and block out the entire outside world for 2 year while the pandemic spreads, paeks, disappates.
2. Flu is a 99% a respiratory-transmitted disease. The standard "wash your hands!!" routine is useless. It is valuable for G-I vector diseases like cholera, listeria...pretty useless on cold or flu viruses.
Same with coughing or sneezing into your sleeve. Nat Geographic did some slow motion, high back lighted against a black screen, high magnification videos of people caughing into hands, hankerchiefs, through those painters dust masks...The micrometer sized aerosol particles just bounce off what people caugh or sneeze against, or largely go right through non-HEPA masks. And of course, not coughing or sneezing, but just breathing normally pumps millions of particles - viruses, water droplets, dead epithelial cells - into the air with each breath.

Of course, sneezing right into someone's face spreads more, but we all know from experience that when a cold, sore throat, flu bug is all around, your personal precautions and your families don't make much of a difference.

3. Watching the Obamites raise "Elmo" up as a mascot makes me wonder about the PBS-Democratic Party Nexus. Is there money involved in this? Are the Obamites pumping millions to their plush, cushy jobs for lifetime cronies at PBS in return for "Elmo" licensing rights the taxpayers are footing???

Or are PBS accountants ducking millions in taxes for their corporate sponsors by saying money for the "Elmo" wash your hands, sneeze into your sleeve campaign are now in the "PSA" (public service announcement) category of tax dodges??

Synova said...

So...

Does anyone remember how Obama made Bush sharing his hand sanitizer into some potentially racist "OMG I touched a black man's hand... gimme my hand sanitizer" moment?

And then all us "haters" had to try to explain how it wasn't an insult to use hand sanitizer after shaking hands with a bunch of people?

Cedarford said...

Rick Lee said...
My wife is an epidemiologist so I have been trained by the best. I always cough and sneeze into my sleeve. Just remember to carry hand sanitizer with you at all times.


I'd be interested in you writing back if you asked her if the standard public health epidemiologist litany delivered to the public, regardless of the disease in question...really is applicable to flu.

Different diseases with different vectors seem to require very different response strategies. That are wildly different in effectiveness. Washing hands is great for cholera or e coli, but nothing like the effectiveness of finding the primary source - one bad well or spinach farm - then dealing with the secondary infections where boiling water or spinach has 100 times the impact hand-washing (or school closures) does.

daubiere said...

alcohol based Hand sanitisers do not breed resistant bacteria. They're antiseptics not antibiotics... cell wall breakers. if microbes developed resistance to alchohol and other antiseptics we'd be really screwed. but it ain't gonna happen, for a long while hopefully.

bagoh20 said...

2 things he should have said:

Don't run with scissors!

Don't vote for people with zero experience or accomplishment at anything.

WV:nopers = Palin's ditto of my comment.

Deb said...

Too late here at Chez Deb. Both kids sick in bed with fever.

Working in a public library, can you imagine the germs encountered each day? Public computers? I wouldn't touch 'em.

wv: pessest: Pess, pesser, pessest.

MadisonMan said...

Professor, you are now living with a disease vector. (Sorry to put it that way Meade) Not as bad as a kid, but .... I suspect your odds of having a cold this year have jumped considerably.

Roger J. said...

mad man--as an epidemiologist let me assure your assessment of kids as vectors is right on. Grandkids have probably killed more grandparents with the flu or pneumonia than anything else--when you hit 65 get your pneumovax shot

Roger J. said...

c4--you are absolutely right

Roger J. said...

note to self--read the comment string before wasting bytes--

C4 is correct--and since the virus is spread before symptoms show up, you will be exposed before anyone is symptomatic--Beth--are you listening

re H1N1--the scare post by the president's science and technology panel was SO bad that CDC had to refute it--We don't even a case fatality rate for h1n1 so their 30-90K figure was bogus--I read the report and they didnt even report their methodolgy

and this was the science based administration--bullshit

Labwriter said...

I'm a retired R.N., and I haven't been sick in years. The last time I was really sick was last Thanksgiving--3 solid weeks of dragging around sick after "volunteering" in the 2-year-old room at a class that I was attending. What I saw grossed me out so bad, I wanted to run from the room. Just watching those kids with the 5 lb. can of playdough almost put me into hysterics. The woman who was the "regular" person overseeing the kids with me picked up all the nasty playdough, put it back into the bucket and back on the shelf. It was beyond gross.

Penny said...

Is everyone too polite to talk about nose picking?

NO NOSE PICKING! Except in the shower.;)

It's like mainlining germs.

Dogwood said...

Am I the only person here with kids under eight? Doorknobs and bibb lettuce are the least of my problems.


LOL! I have an 8 yo and a 5 yo. Cute, adorable, lovely children...and perpetual germ factories.

Joe said...

Wait until your kids get to Junior High and High School so they can collect germs from all over town, not just your neighborhood.

My youngest son brought home a 14 hour flu two days ago. We bonded as a family yesterday by taking turns puking. It's been a while since that happened. Fortunately, this time the kids didn't puke all over their beds.

rhhardin said...

I always assume the previous cart user has wiped the thing down so I don't have to.

rhhardin said...

Sociologist Erving Goffman examined the rules for nose picking.

Basically it's okay when you're allowed to be unattentive to others, but you're supposed to stop if, for example, somebody else comes into the office.

ironrailsironweights said...

If, by accident, one should happen to touch a door knob, the only fully reliable remedy is to burn off a layer of skin and pray for a happy ending.

A happy ending like the ones offered at the Tokyo Blossoms Health Spa?

Peter

AprilApple said...

I once had a raging cold on a plane. I felt terrible for bringing my sick-ass onto the flight home, but I couldn't change. I was one of those people you hate on a plane. Anyway, I spent 5 hours sneezing and coughing into my shirt. I lifted up the neck and sneezed down into it. I was as careful as possible to not spread my cold germs.

The flight attendants noticed, and they were very nice to me. They brought me OJ without me even asking.

(needless to say I double washed the shirt in hot water.)

Fred4Pres said...

My wife saw a little girl at a party buffet line licking food and then placing it back on its plate or bowl (everyone else was outside). We ate out after the party.

RLB_IV said...

Better safe than sorry. My Internist wears gloves to slather my butt with lube to do the old prostrate test, cough. When he is done he washes his hands. All I say is Howard, we can't keep meeting this way. Thank God he laughs after he's pulled out.

RLB_IV said...

Better safe than sorry. My Internist wears gloves to slather my butt with lube to do the old prostrate test, cough. When he is done he washes his hands. All I say is Howard, we can't keep meeting this way. Thank God he laughs after he's pulled out.

Dogwood said...

Wait until your kids get to Junior High and High School so they can collect germs from all over town, not just your neighborhood.

We live in a small town so we get the full blown community germ factory. Great fun.

OT: Make sure you take a look at the Drudge headline regarding death panels in Britain.

We have nothing to fear from government health care though. Not. A. Thing.

Beth said...

I always assume the previous cart user has wiped the thing down so I don't have to.

I just wait for someone else to come push my cart out of their way. It takes awhile, but I make it through the store eventually.

Shanna said...

I'm grossed out by the advice to sneeze into your sleeve. If you are sick, just carry kleenex. As mentioned, if it's the flu the only thing that will work is heavy duty quaranteens. In the 1918 flu, one town set up somebody with guns at the entrance and exit and shooed all strangers away. They didn't get the flu.

Oligonicella said...

Could someone please explain to me the desire of some people to cleanse they're environment so thoroughly they become unable to cope with the germs they run across?

Oligonicella said...

"BTW, I've had 1 cold in 15 years."

It only takes one flu to kill you. If you've had several bouts, it's a proven fact you're survival rate is better. Flus may not be identical, but they're related and your body accounts for that. Your immune system is ever so much more sophisticated than a flu shot.

Ann Althouse said...

"It only takes one flu to kill you."

I know. I'm just saying that my methods are good for avoiding contagion. I'm still going to monitor my health and respond immediately if I get the flu.

I've had the flu exactly once in my life, around 1980, and, looking back, I can see how I could have died, and how dangerous it was to just lie in bed and have zero medical care. I was a law student at the time.

Jim C. said...

Beth said, I teach in classrooms where every student has a computer; I'm also in charge of keeping those classrooms in working order, so I touch about 100keyboards/mice a few times a month.

I mounted Purell dispensers on the wall last year, and managed to avoid the flu for the first time in years.


Your computer maintenance folks probably sanitize/use cling wrap on keyboards because otherwise they really do get a lot more colds.

knox said...

I just wait for someone else to come push my cart out of their way. It takes awhile, but I make it through the store eventually.

LOL.

knox said...

Nothing, NOTHING is worse than a stomach flu. Well, I should be more specific: nothing's worse than nausea. It's all-consuming and crippling: you can't read, you can't even watch TV to take your mind off of it. No medicine helps. The *only* thing that might possibly help to relieve it is puking, which is highly unpleasant in itself.

breehill said...

Parents, teachers: I heard about a great program called Germy Wormy Germ Smart that teaches kids the sleeve cough/sneeze, and to understand how germs spread and how to NOT spread germs. My daughter learned it at pre-school. It was so much fun for her, and amazing how quickly the kids learned healthier hygiene habits! The website speaks for itself: germywormy.com