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How to Cover Your Mouth

Our granddaughter reminds us so much of her mother and aunt as she’s growing up. At the moment one particular struggle is to get her to cover her mouth when she coughs or sneezes. As she just turned three this is not something that happens frequently.

On top of that, we’re having to relearn how to cover our mouth. What we were taught as a child isn’t practical but it’s hard to change.

Not the Hand: It’s actually logical. Unless we stand next to a sink or carry hand sanitizer gel covering our mouth with our hands is a bad idea. “Cough, cough, nice to meet you Mr. Jones.” I’m not going to want to shake his hand, are you?

The Elbow: This is logical for many reasons. We aren’t spreading germs by coughing and then shaking someone’s hand, opening a door or touching any common surface. We don’t use our elbows that way. On top of that, if both hands are full, the elbow may be the only location available.

Kleenex: Using a Kleenex for this purpose might be reasonable, but if the tissue gets damp, you still need to wash your hands before doing anything else. Damp tissue means germs on the hands.

Washing Up: I will always prefer handwashing with soap and hot water, but there are times when that isn’t possible. Having hand sanitizer gel available, especially in areas that may not have a convenient sink is wise.

As for these gels, studies indicate that the product has to be at least 60% alcohol to be effective. The one I use is 70%.

You may be wondering why an article about hand sanitization is needed. Here’s why. I have pneumonia. I got it from our granddaughter who brought it home from preschool. Somewhere in this line of who got what from whom a bad decision was made and chances are good proper hand cleaning could have prevented it.