It’s cold and flu season again/still. Actually it seems to be cold and flu season all year long, does’t it? According to Health Canada , cold and flu season in this country is from November to April (Only half the year! Phew!)
So lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of people coughing and sneezing all over their clothing. Sneezing and coughing on your clothing seems to be all the rage this cold and flu season. The Center for Disease Control advocates using your clothing to catch your coughs and sneezes. The “Sneeze Doctor”, Dr. Ben Lounsbury has made an entire career out of shoving the “Sleeve Sneeze” (aka “Dracula Cough”) down our raw, infected throats with his Why Don’t We Do It In Our Sleeves propoganda.
The break-through science behind this bold, new disease-fighting technique is that splattering your germs onto fabric contains the germs and causes them to dry up and die — right there on your sleeves.
How revolutionary! (From the root word, “revolting”)
So, here’s my thought. If you’re sick enough to be sneezing and coughing all over the place — stay home. Or, if you absolutely need to be up and about, I can recommend an amazing product generically known as FACIAL TISSUES. I don’t know what they were originally invented for, but I’ve been using them quite successfully for years to capture the phlegm and debris from coughs and sneezes. And they’re disposable! Yes, I use them and then I throw them away like boyfriends. Then I wash my hands or use some of that hand sanitizer everyone who’s anyone carries around these days. And then I’m good to go.
Of course there are people who have no common courtesy and sneeze all over other people or sneeze into their hands and then go and touch stuff other people are going to be touching. And there are people who put their hands in or around their faces without washing their hands after touching the stuff the people without common courtesy have touched. These people have no common sense and will get the plague sooner or later and die anyway. We are not going to be able to save them by sleeve sneezing, trust me.
I’m thinking, however, maybe I’m not the only one who grew up in Rational-Human-Being-Land, where we were taught to always carry tissues when we were sick and to wash our hands after blowing our noses and to not suck on our fingers after shaking hands with someone who just coughed something green and slimy into his hands.
These time-tested practices now seem to be passé. Now we can’t be trusted to retain such complex information, so we are instructed (with colourful, easy-to-remember and entertaining instructional videos produced by people much smarter than they think we are) to just expel our germs and bodily fluids onto our clothing.
Good grief, people! Are we hillbillies? Have we really regressed to the point where we’re back to wiping our noses on our sleeves?
What if you’re wearing a tank top or short sleeved shirt? What if you’ve got a mouth full of oatmeal and have to sneeze or cough? What if you’ve got a snout full of snot and have to sneeze?
Ewwwww. That’s what.
And the really extra stupid thing I’m seeing is people just coughing or sneezing into the general direction of their sleeves so, while the person in front of them is sort of safe from the spray of bacteria and mucus, everyone beside and/or behind them gets a full blast.
At the last minute some shred of these people’s abased dignity must have surfaced and told them that clothing is not the right place for snot. They recall, perhaps, that when they eat, they wipe their hands with serviettes and not on their trousers. And then they wonder if perhaps somewhere out there is a serviette-type thing for snot so they don’t have to wipe that on their clothing either.
Once upon a time ladies used to wipe their nether regions with their undergarments if they had to do their business outdoors and/or because the toilet paper of the day was too rough for their delicate skin. If we all get too stupid or lazy to remember to use toilet paper, will there be an instructional video asking, Why Don’t We Do It In Our Underpants?
So now I have to be afraid to sit too close to anyone or accidentally brush up against anyone in case I get elbow-snot transference. AND, the cherry on top of this whole nutty meringue is that they’re also trying, as Violetsky recently pointed out, to get us to stop shaking hands and kissing and to greet each other instead with — THE ELBOW BUMP!
 You’re going to need one to blow or wipe your drippy nose anyway.
 I know, not environmentally friendly, right? And having to do extra laundry because your shirts are stiff with snot isn’t? What about good old-fashioned handkerchiefs? Oh ya, people decided it was gross to sneeze into a piece of cloth you were going to carry around in your pocket.
 Just south of I-Learned-Some-Manners-Land, neighbouring Don’t-Blow-Your-Nose-On-Your-Shirtsleeve-Land.
 I’ve seen a woman in a tank top lift up the end of her long skirt and sneeze into that AND wipe her nose with it afterwards. I’ve seen a woman carrying a baby sneeze into her baby’s blanket because she couldn’t twist enough to get her sleeve. My nephew sneezed into my mother’s kitchen curtains once because it was summer and he wasn’t wearing sleeves. And I’ve seen people spewing things onto their clothes and then wiping it off with their hands. Excellent!
The question arose: why are we worried about germs on door-knobs and other hard surfaces and encouraged to hack germs all over our clothes? The Sleeve Sneeze people tell us germs just up and die on our clothes, but this didn’t make much sense to me so I did some research and found out that in order to thrive germs need moisture and food (just like us). Heres’ what else I found:
But even frequently handled hard surfaces like water faucets and door handles are not as big a source of infections as you might think, because germs don’t thrive on, or transfer well from, hard surfaces.
Germs transfer easily from the moist damp surface of the skin. The greatest risk of infection is from your hands touching someone else and then touching your face.
No bacteria or virus can live on dry surfaces with a humidity of less than 10 percent. Any sort of nutrients-food particles, skin cells, blood, mucus-helps microbes thrive…bacterial spore can survive for weeks on dry clothing using sloughed skin cells for food.