Here's What To Do If Someone Sneezes Or Coughs Near You

Elyse Wanshel
·2-min read

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, offered a sobering warning earlier this month as the weather in the United States begins to cool and flu season is looming: Americans need to stop looking at the “rosy side of things” and prepare for a second wave of COVID-19.

“We need to hunker down and get through this fall and winter, because it’s not going to be easy,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said during a panel at Harvard Medical School.

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offered a grim prediction as well, telling the Journal of the American Medical Association in July that the fall and winter, “are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health.”


This means that Americans need to be diligent about protecting themselves and others from the airborne virus to quell a spike of infections in the next few months. And given that COVID-19 is primarily transmitted person-to-person through respiratory droplets from sneezing or coughing, Fredrick Sherman, a professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, offered The Atlantic a new and helpful tip to help curb the spread.

Sherman said that if you find yourself in a high-risk scenario in which a someone sneezes or coughs near you, “Immediately exhale to avoid inhaling droplets or aerosols. Purse your lips to make the exhaling last longer. Turn your head fully away from the person and begin walking.”

This method won’t definitively protect you from COVID-19, but it could reduce how...

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