Cover Your Cough Fact Sheet (for the Community)
Answers frequently asked questions about covering your cough and stopping the spread of germs.
This fact sheet is available for download in English only for the community version (which does not include the part about masks), but it is available in several languages with the mask text (Brochure for Health Care) and can be read on-line in the Cover Your Cough FAQ.
Download PDF version formatted for print:
Cover Your Cough - fact sheet, English (PDF)
Stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick!
Why you should cover your cough:
- Serious respiratory illnesses like influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), whooping cough and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are spread by:
- Coughing or sneezing
- Unclean hands
- These illnesses spread easily in crowdedplaces where people are in close contact.
How to stop the spread of germs when you are sick:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze. Throw the used tissue in a waste basket.
- If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve (at the elbow).
- After coughing or sneezing, always clean your hands with soap & water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Do not share eating utensils, drinking glasses, towels or other personal items.
- Clean your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
- Get vaccinated! Influenza (flu) and pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines can prevent some serious respiratory illnesses.
Additional steps to stay healthy
- Avoid smoking and keep your home smoke free.
- Avoid crowded places where germs can be passed among people through the air.
- Get vaccinated against influenza.
and prevent the spread of respiratory infections
- Get extra rest - viral infections take 10 to 14 days to resolve.
- Drink extra fluids - especially water.
- Stay home when you’re ill.
When you are at a hospital or clinic
- You may be asked to wear a mask to protect others.
- Don’t worry if you see staff and other people wearing masks. They are preventing the spread of germs.