Why don't we do it in our sleeves?

Having a cold sucks. (After being sick for the past week, I feel I can say that with some confidence.) While they usually don’t kill us, a cold can make us feel miserable enough that we wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. So why do we? I’m not saying we wish it on others, but we happily pass it along. You know, we’ll grab that wadded up hanky out of our pocket, sneeze into it, smearing bacteria, viruses, and filth around our palms, then stuff it back into the pocket. Then we take the same hand, and press it against others in greetings, use it to bring food to our mouths, open doors, pick up things... Well, you can see what I mean. We spread the germs without even trying.

But now, there is hope! We can change our habits.


Check out this video, titled "Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves?" My dad sent this to me, perhaps after seeing me cough and sneeze at the family BBQ last weekend, or perhaps just because this is a message everyone should hear. Watch the video, note the best techniques, and then forward it along to anyone you might be coming in contact with. Perhaps by the start of the next flu season, we can have an ounce more prevention, and possibly reduce our chances of getting sick... or getting someone else sick.

It really beats the.. ah.... excuse me a moment... *coughhacksnifflesnort* "Ew ew! Right on the keyboard! Where’s that tissue?" ahem... it really beats the old fashioned way of doing it.

(No worries, my keyboard is safe; I’ve been refining this sleeve technique while I try to get rid of the last of this cold.)

Image via OtoRhinoLounsburgology Productions. Please give a special thanks goes to my dad, for passing along the tip.

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I never understood why parents tell their kids to cough and sneeze into their hands. Those alcohol and perfume mixtures torture my sinuses, so I can't be around them. For a few years now, I've started sneezing down my shirt or into my shoulder/arm. The down-the-shirt method sounds odd/gross, but I figure it keeps me from spreading around the sick. Therefore, whenever I am a parent, my kids will be taught to cough into their shoulder.


Who gets a cold in the middle of the summer? Have you been skinny-dipping?

Did you have lots of chicken soup? (It really helps.)

Hope you're back to 96.3 soon.


I've been sneezing into sleeves for years, mostly because it strikes me as being much more hygienic. After all, you don't have the wonderful experience of spreading hand-slime; and there's less aerosolized byblow to waft about the air as well.

Nice to see others picking up on it too. ;)

The other thing I do not do is shake hands where there's food being handled. This can occasionally make meeting someone in a restaurant socially awkward, but I live with it.

Rich, people with 6-year-olds get sick in summer. (At least, 6-year-olds who haven't perfected the sneeze-in-sleeve method.) Plus, I only skinny-dip in hot springs; they're supposed to be healing, not bad for you, right?

I am feeling better now, but I must say, about that chicken soup... it doesn't work with summer colds. Most of my misery came from being too hot with no way to cool off. (It's hard to visit an air-conditioned cafe when you're that sick, even with the proper precautions.)

Warren & Tanya, I'm glad to hear you've already adopted the technique. Now it's time to convert the masses! ;)


(I love chicken soup all year long, but that's just me.)

As for sleeve-sneezing, what if we're only wearing a t-shirt?

Do we sneeze on our arm?


Rich, go for the shoulder. They show a good example in the video. It's actually easier for me to hit the shoulder, anyways. The elbow required unnecessary stretching. The only time you have a problem is if you're wearing a sleeveless shirt. Then, Tanya's method of down-the-shirt might be a decent substitute.

About that chicken soup, my kid is the same way. :)

Let's try that again.

links repaired by me. -K

By Electric Dragon (not verified) on 13 Jul 2007 #permalink

Sorry, Electric Dragon, I saw that, and was about to fix it for you... but I've never seen Tony Hancock before and I'm now watching more. Thanks for the link!

As for the html, the way you did it works on some message boards, depending on how they have it set up. In html, try using the pointy > brackets instead of [these] and instead of url, try: a href="http://..."
and end it with: /a
"a" means link. Don't ask me why.