Have you seen the latest information campaigns for prevention of Swine Flu?Well, both in France and in Ireland, the message is clear: if you sneeze, you should sneeze into your sleeve, aiming for the elbow. Now I’m no medical expert, but is that not just a teensy bit gross? No, seriously. When we were kids, were we not told not to wipe our noses on our sleeves? And from a hygiene point of view, is it not rather illogical to advocate the use of a non-disposable piece of cloth that will be worn for at least the rest of the day, rather than, say, covering your sneeze with your hand, which is then easily washed?
I actually know someone whose usual mode of sneezing is exactly that: sneezing into his shirt sleeve from a distance, vaguely aiming into the fold of his elbow. Disease prevention set aside, that completely grosses me out. I don’t particularly enjoy thinking that his shirt sleeve, which will likely later come into contact with other people, including me, is now maculated with snot and spittle, albeit an invisible amount. It’s just not nice.
Besides, how hard is it to catch a sneeze? I don’t think I’ve sneezed more than a handful of times in my adult life without covering my nose and mouth with either a paper tissue or my hand, and given my hand-brain coordination talent (or lack of), that means it can’t be that hard!
I also don’t get how people can still use cloth hankies in this day and age. I can kind of understand people of my parents’ generation or older being so used to them that they dislike the relative novelty of the paper kind, but someone my age or younger insisting on using the old cotton plaid-printed rag to wipe – and more importantly, store – their nasal discharge on, is just wrong. I’m not naming names, you know who you are.
Look, your snot wants to leave your body. That’s why your nose is running, that’s why you want to sneeze. It’s trying to get away from you. So please, just let it go. Catch it in a Kleenex and let it go on a merry adventure, far far away to Binland. You wouldn’t wipe your other bodily excretions on a piece of cloth and carry it around with you all day, would you? No, no you wouldn’t.
No. You wouldn’t.