How to Prevent Germs from Spreading When You Cough

It starts small — your child comes home with a cough that hangs on a little too long. Soon, your whole family is coughing, and your coworkers aren’t feeling so great, either. The germs that can cause coughing are highly contagious and mutate quickly, so you can not only spread the germs to those around you, but can end up re-infected yourself. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a never-ending cough, though. Just a few simple steps can prevent the spread of a cough bacteria or virus so you — and everyone around you — can protect yourselves from a dry cough.


Practice Cough Courtesy

Your first line of defense against spreading a dry cough is the common courtesy you were taught as a child: covering your mouth. Each cough releases millions of germs out into the air, where they can transfer to neighboring surfaces (and people) and spread the cough. Trap those nasty germs by coughing into a tissue instead, or within the inside of your elbow, and turn your head away from others when you cough to protect those around you.


Wash and Disinfect Your Hands

Coughing into your hand means you transfer germs onto your skin — and then onto any surface you touch. Avoid this by washing your hands several times a day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends using warm water and soap to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds — enough time to hum the “happy birthday” song. And keep sanitizer on hand for on-the-go disinfection in situations where washing your hands isn’t possible.


Disinfect Your Home and Office, Too

Even if you practice perfect cough courtesy and hand hygiene, cough-causing bacteria and viruses can still end up on surfaces in your home and office. Disinfect common areas as soon as you start to notice symptoms, paying particular attention to door knobs and handles, shared equipment (like the office photocopier), and any toys young ones may put in their mouths. In addition, keep some disinfectant wipes on hand as a convenient way to clean surfaces until your dry cough subsides.


Take Cough Medication

Taking cough medication doesn’t just make you feel better, it can also help you prevent spreading your cough. Because coughing spreads the microbes that are making you sick, taking medication to reduce or get rid of your cough reduces its spread (it’s really the ultimate cough courtesy!). Cough medication helps reduce a bothering cough so you can sleep better at night.


Look for a cough medication that offers long-lasting symptom relief. Delsym® 12-Hour Cough Relief has a patented time-release formula that suppresses your cough for up to 12 hours, so a single dose can get you through the workday, and another can relieve your cough during the night. It’s available for both adult and children, so your whole family can get long-lasting relief.