It’s normal to sneeze: It’s the body’s natural reflex to an invader—whether pollen, cat hair or a virus that leads to the common cold—in your nose linings. No matter the cause, your sneezes spread germs, and it’s best to catch them the correct way to prevent spreading illness. The Texas A&M University Health Science Center tested which method is the best to prevent germs from spreading.
With no barrier
Sneezing with no hands won’t just embarrass your parents, it’ll likely shoot germs over 10 feet to other surfaces, where they can live for weeks until someone comes in contact with them. It makes you rethink grabbing that subway rail or grabbing magazines in a waiting room. Be sure to have some antibacterial wipes handy.
Using your hands
While this is a good way to keep germs from spraying all over the place, it’s almost counterproductive if you don’t scrub your hands clean afterward. Sneezing in your hands is a good way to spread germs to your computer, phone, doorknobs—or someone else if you shake their hand.
If you catch yourself using your hands to barricade the germs, be sure to wash your hands with soap, friction and warm water for at least 30 seconds. Using hand sanitizer doesn’t substitute for good old hand washing.