The New York Public Schools this week instituted a new policy when teaching children how to avoid spreading disease and infections via their mouths. Children used to be taught to cover their mouths with their hands if they sneezed or coughed or yawned. That was problematic because children then used those infected hands to touch things, and each other, and viruses and disease were easily spread that way. Now teachers ask the children to cough into the crooks of their arms instead of into their hands. It’s a brilliant, yet simple, idea that everyone should now adopt and it is a further delightful example of how education and better healthcare can immediately benefit the young and, in turn, us all. Of small instructions blossom good things.


  1. Ah the joys of spreading viruses. I’ve always done that except when I yawn I do put my hand over my mouth. I’m usually close enough to a tissue though to grab before I sneeze too. This might help somewhat but an airborne virus will get ya no matter where you sneeze/cough it into.

  2. Yes, it’s a simple solution, hterry, and it should immediately lessen the transmittal of disease from kid to kid. So many kids stick their fingers up their noses and put hands in mouths so it’s like a direct pipeline from infected hand to open orifice. This new philosophy of coughing should tamp that down a bit. I am glad to learn you are already using your crook to honorable ends! 🙂

  3. That’s a good plan, tajuki! I remember when I was in junior high and I was always sick and my doctor told me to “keep your hands off your face!” My hands were always on my face — rubbing my eyes, holding up my head when I was bored to tears in class, slapping myself awake — and when I broke that chain and kept my hands off my face I did feel much better. I haven’t gone back to hands-on-face since!

  4. Good point about the eyes, tajuki. The eyes are extremely sensitive to infection and the perfect delivery device for disease is the point of your finger!

  5. Hi Robin!
    Sometimes it’s best to buy one of those surgical masks to wear on the train. People will think you’re sick and don’t want to spread what you have but if the opposite is true, who would know but you? It might look silly but it would save you pain and heartache in the future.

  6. I’ll keep that in mind next time 😉
    Erik told me not to sit on the subway because of all the germs but as I saw it holding onto those polls is a hell of a lot worse.

  7. Sitting is fine on the subway, I think, as long as you take off your pants the second you come home. I call pants that sit on subway seats “vomit pants” because that’s the residue rubbing off on you as you sit and who wants someone else’s vomit sitting on your loveseat at home? 🙂

  8. Janna takes a total of six trains a day — three there and three back — and the first thing I ask her when she comes home is, “Did you take off your vomit pants?” It’s quite romantic, really.

  9. That may be the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard 😆
    I used to take a train into Boston (1 hour long) and then walk to the subway (1/2 hour ride) and then walk to a shuttle that took me to work. Needless to say I wasn’t paid enough at the job for the hassle to get there.

  10. Makes me glad I live in a much smaller city where I can commute on my own! 😀
    I was at the movie theater last night and heard someone coughing behind me – a terrible phlegm-y sounding cough. I thought to myself, “Good lord, I wanna stay away from her.”

  11. Robin — Yes, I’m quite the romancer! 😉 Trains are a living necessity on the East Coast and they are wonderful — except for the other people! We have no choice but to become cattle on our way to a daily slaughter, really. There’s no place left to park!
    Carla — Yeah, having a car is great. We don’t have one because we don’t really need one, though in New Jersey it would be nice to finally get one. In California everyone drives everywhere. It’s more of a hassle but you do have much more freedom to roam. On the plane to Sacramento there was a woman behind us who coughed on us for four hours. That’s when you turn on your personal AC blower full power and aim it directly on your head to care a virus-free-zone of your own! 😀

  12. Another great way to help keep the kiddos (and yourself) from getting sick is to carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer.
    I shake hands with all sorts of people during the day — most of them usually will cough or sneeze right before they shake my hand. I always make sure to wash my hands and sanitize before I go to eat lunch (or accidently touch my face).
    The little bottles of hand sanitizer work well with the kids also — how many kids ever stop by the restroom to wash their hands before lunch? Not many. They’ll use the sanitizer because it’s quick and easy.

  13. That’s interesting, Chris. In New York, doctors warn against those hand sanitizing gels and creams and even antibacterial soap because, they feel, those products lessen your ongoing ability to fight infections and bacteria over the long haul. Their philosophy, as I understand it, is plain soap and water — or just plain water — work best for getting rid of germs instead of these overly-powerful antibacterial agents.

  14. The other day I was daydreaming about a flu pandemic hitting this country, and I was at the grocery store and everyone I saw was wearing one of those surgical mask.
    I believe that is going to be in our future, any where we go in public, we will be wearing one of those mask for fear of catching some dreadful disease. Will we also stop shaking hands with people for fear of disease?
    That will be a good time for those who are trying to evade the law.
    After having had the pneumonia recently, my doctor knowing I’m a pastor, told me to get a tube of hand sanitizing , keep in my jacket pocket, and after shaking hands to remember to use it on my hands, that would save me much sickness.

  15. Hey Jerry!
    I think your daydream is our nightmare! Perhaps soon we won’t even have to interact with other people other than virtually on the web. 🙂
    Donald Trump and Howard Stern already refuse to shake hands with people for fear of diseases that are not their own. A guy I knew at Rutgers refused to shake hands — he’d “shake elbows” instead.
    In your case hand sanitizer is a life-saver — a serious and honorable intention for a fine product.

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