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Do You Shake Hands? You Should Reconsider During Cold & Flu Season

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My father always told me to make the best first impression was to walk right up to someone, look them in the eye and give them a firm handshake. Good advice, except during cold and flu season.

Flu Season 2012 is upon us and my family has already been struck by the influenza bug, despite already having received our flu shots. It’s already circulating around the Magic Valley and this is a nasty one. Trust me.

When I was in school we were taught to sneeze into our hands to stop the spread of germs. The average sneeze can spread mucus up to seventeen feet, so that’s good advice right?


On an episode of the Discovery Channel show ‘Mythbusters‘, hosts Adam and Jamie found that sneezing into your hand still spread germs up to ten feet. Worse still you’re sneezing directly into your hand. Unless you wash immediately everything you touch, including other people, will be contaminated.

So what’s the best thing to do? Sneeze into your elbow.¬†Adam and Jamie found that by sneezing into their elbows they were able to virtually stop the spread of germs, and most importantly the germs weren’t on their hands.

While the Mythbusters did determine that sneezing into your elbow is the best way to stop a sneeze, it shouldn’t be considered a replacement for good flu/cold common sense:

  • Wash your hands. A lot.
  • If you’re sick, stay home.
  • Keep your home/desk/work area clean and wiped down (especially your keyboard and mouse).

Wash your hands and sneeze into your elbow. It’s Flu Season. We’re all in this together.

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