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  • Cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue when you sneeze.
Cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue when you sneeze.

Sneezing etiquette and manners

Sneezing is a natural reflex of the body to overcome cold or allergen factors. When you have a cold, have tissues on hand all the time.

Follow these rules of etiquette when sneezing

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue 

The best way to prevent the spread of the germs when you sneeze is to cover your mouth and nose with a paper tissue. 

If the sneeze is loud and repeatedly, then quickly excuse yourself, leave the room, and head to the restroom—return after you blew your nose and washed your hands.

Sneeze into the crook of your elbow or upper sleeve

Sometimes, a sneeze can get you by surprise and unprepared with a napkin or handkerchief on hand. In this situation, sneeze into the crook of your elbow or upper sleeve to minimize the effect and say “excuse me” afterward.

Never sneeze into your hands

Maybe, later on, you will have to hold a paper and pass it on to somebody else or make a handshake at the end of the meeting.

Social manners

  • If somebody hands you a tissue, accepted, and thanked that person after the sneezing has stopped.
  • Don’t try to talk while you feel that a sneeze will occur; you may end up sneezing in the person’s face who wants to save you from this embarrassing situation.
  • Always discard the used tissues in the nearest basket or discretely put it in your pocket and throw it away as soon as you see a trash can.
  • Do not hand back the used tissue or the handkerchief to the person who gave it to you. Show your appreciation gracefully with a “Thank you” and move on.
  • It is proper etiquette to say “God bless you” or “Bless you” if someone near you sneezes. But do not repeat the blessing as many times as that person sneezes. One time is considered a proper manner but repeating may offend that person who is already in an awkward position.

Remember to be always courteous and show consideration and understanding to the people around you. Sometimes a simple gesture can have a more significant impact than a dozen words.


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