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Colds and Flu

Cover Your Cough: Frequently Asked Questions

MN Department of Health

Stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick: Cover Your Cough

Why should I cover my cough?

Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are spread by:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Unclean hands

These illnesses spread easily in crowded places where people are in close contact.

How do I stop the spread of germs if I am sick?

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze.
  • Throw the used tissue in a waste basket.
  • If you don't have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve.
  • After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap & water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.

How can I stay healthy?

  • Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
  • Get vaccinated! Influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines can prevent some serious respiratory illnesses.

When you are at the clinic or hospital:

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of the used tissue in the waste basket.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
  • You may also be asked to wear a mask to protect others.

MDH Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Prevention and Control Division.

 

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