Why you should do it
Coughing or sneezing into your elbow catches the droplets and stops them from getting on your hands.
Wearing a face covering
A face covering also helps stop droplets spreading when someone speaks, laughs, coughs or sneezes. This includes someone who has COVID-19 but feels well or has no obvious symptoms.
Wearing a face covering is an extra protective physical barrier to help keep you and others safe by stopping the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are particularly useful when physical distancing is not possible.
You can also cover your mouth and nose with tissues. Put them in the bin or a bag immediately. Then wash your hands thoroughly. Then dry.
How it spreads
Like the flu, COVID-19 is usually spread from person to person. Scientific evidence confirms that COVID-19 spreads by droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, they may generate droplets containing the virus.
People may get infected if droplets remain in the air for an extended time. The risk of airborne transmission becomes higher:
- in enclosed spaces that do not have good airflow
- in crowded places
- during loud conversations.
People may also get infected by the virus if they touch surfaces or objects that an infected person has touched, or if droplets have settled there.