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Coughs and Sneezes spread Diseases!

The old phrase "Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases" really is true! We all need to adopt good respiratory and hand hygiene practices - to 'Catch it. Bin it. Kill it' to help stem flu infections and other diseases such as norovirus and the common cold.

Catch it:  Carry tissues and use them to catch coughs or sneezes.   

Bin it: Throw away used tissues straight after use.    

Kill it:  Kill the germs by good hand washing.

Research now shows that impressively, the force of a sneeze can send around 100,000 germs a huge distance - up to 25ft (just under eight metres). Coughs aren't quite so grim - but they can still travel a fair way. Coughing spreads droplets as far as six metres - and the germy particles can stay suspended in their air for up to 10 minutes. About 3,000 droplets are expelled in a single cough and these have the ability to fly through the air at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.

Once flu is spreading widely, hygiene is the only method that can help prevent spread apart from vaccination. So people most at risk from flu, including adults with chronic long-term conditions such as asthma, neurological conditions or heart, lung, kidney or liver disease, the over 65s and pregnant women, who have not yet had their flu vaccine should contact their GP as soon as possible.

Furthermore anyone suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting, fever and/or flu like illness shouldn't visit the hospital and care homes as by doing so they may pass the virus on to other people, service users and staff. They should wait until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have gone and they are fully recovered.

The Health Promotion Unit has produced a poster with the 'Catch it. Bin it. Kill it' message that can be displayed in workplaces, shops, schools etc. It can be downloaded from the bottom of the page, or paper copies are available from the Unit at the PEH - tel 707311 email:

For further information on all aspects of flu prevention go to