We all inevitably become contributors to the audible signs of sickness.
The coughing, sneezing, sniffling, and other sickly sounds do not bother me all too much.
However, when I see someone cough or sneeze into their hands, I am absolutely appalled.
I was raised to always cough or sneeze into my elbow. We don’t shake elbows, we don’t
use our elbows to touch things, and we certainly don’t rub our elbows on things to further
Humans constantly are using their hands. We pick up our food, open doors, touch desks,
and more. Because it would be too excessive and does not appear practical, we are not
constantly cleaning and sanitizing our hands. By sneezing or coughing directly into
your hands, you are spreading all of your germs to every single thing you touch. Think
about the frequency you touch your face. You may scratch your eye after touching a
contaminated object and the next morning wake up with a stuffed up nose and sore throat.
I observed a woman during the holiday season sneeze directly into her hands and then
proceed to open a door to the mall. In an urban setting with a large number of people
entering malls, many others came in contact with the germs of the woman. Now imagine
how many unknowingly scratched their eye and became infected.
To protect the privacy of my friend, I will refer to her as Sophie. Sophie and I were
working on homework together when I caught her in the act. She sneezed right into
her hands and was immediately criticized by me. Though she admitted to her guilt and
understood what she had done wrong, I later found her sneezing again into her hands
during the same hour.
Over December break, I found myself sick, miserable, and unable to enjoy the time off.
How did I become sick? I simply came in contact with the germs of someone who was
sick. Not to point fingers, but it was interesting how the day after I studied with Sophie, I
It’s important to make this conscious decision to not sneeze or cough into our hands. By
doing so, we are only spreading our germs to others, which could consequently lead to
absence from school, misery in one’s life, and to be very dramatic, death.
So please, next time you feel the urge to cough or sneeze, do so into your elbow and not
into your hands. Do anything possible to prevent yourself from contaminating others, and
in the event you do forget, wash your hands immediately after. And if you know someone
who follows this particular behavior, speak up and make them aware of what they are
doing and politely encourage them to refrain from sneezing or coughing into their hands.
Abstaining from directly putting your sick germs into your hands could help to prevent
others from obtaining your sickness. Be courteous to others, and if enough people quit,
fewer people would miss work, school, and the fun in life.