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How to best cover your sneeze without using your hands or elbow

HOUSTON – One thing health experts know about viruses is that they can travel three to six feet. That’s why they warn anyone who has been within that range of a coronavirus patient to watch for symptoms.

If you cough or sneeze, Jill Weatherhead, MD, with Baylor College of Medicine-Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine, said to cover your nose and mouth.

Most people immediately tend to do with their hands but to avoid spreading germs, you might be better off using your elbow.

However, Weatherhead said the very best way to cover a cough is with a tissue.

“Something that can be disposed of is very, very important. You don't want to cough or sneeze into your hands,” she said.

If you do use your elbow, there’s no information yet known about how long a disease like the novel coronavirus can live on that surface.