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27 November 2014
Press release

A sneeze can travel the length of a bus!

GPs in Suffolk are asking you to practice good cold etiquette this winter to help reduce the spread of unpleasant germs. 

Most of us will catch a cold at some point during the winter months, leaving us with a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and a cough.  No one enjoys having a cold, which is why GPs are asking people who have a cold to take steps to avoid passing the virus to someone else.

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Colds are spread by the germ-filled droplets coughed or sneezed out by an infected person. And with the droplets on a sneeze able to travel the length of a bus, it’s important to keep those droplets contained!

“Make sure you cough or sneeze into a tissue and then appropriately dispose of the tissue as soon as possible. And then always wash your hands with hot water and soap or an antibacterial hand gel as soon as possible afterwards.

 “If you don’t cover your nose or mouth then the droplets you emit will be breathed in by other people around you. Or they will land on surfaces which will then be touched by other people, spreading the cold virus even further.

Dr Christopher Browning, a GP in Long Melford and chairman of the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Encouraging people to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze might seem obvious. However, research has suggested that one unprotected sneeze in a busy area, could lead to 150 people developing a cold, with the germs being passed on via escalator handles or on train or bus seats.

“If you sit next to someone at work who doesn’t practice good cold etiquette, don’t be embarrassed to tell them to keep it covered. You could be saving yourself and your colleagues the unpleasantness of a cold.”
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