Though you can\u2019t see them, germs from your sneeze spread farther than you think. Learn how to properly cover your sneeze and prevent the spread of illnesses.\nWhy Do I Need to Cover My Sneeze?\nAccording to a study, germs from your sneeze can travel up to 200 times farther than the water particles released in your sneeze. These germs can form an invisible cloud that can drift across a large room and beyond.\nThe germs from your sneeze also can live for weeks on surfaces, so the effects of a sneeze are long lasting.\n \r\n \r\n Sign up for our family health newsletter \r\n \r\n Enter your email to subscribe\r\n \r\n \r\n\t \r\n \r\n Continue\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n I understand that by providing my email address, I agree to receive emails from UPMC. I understand that I may opt out of receiving such communications at any time.\r\n \r\n \r\n \nBy covering your nose or mouth the right way, you can significantly reduce the spread of germs. Your friends and co-workers will thank you, since correctly covering a sneeze lessens the possibility they will catch a cold or virus.\nHow to Properly Cover a Sneeze or Cough\nWhen you feel a sneeze or cough developing, the best way to prevent the spread of germs is to grab a tissue and be sure to:\n\nSneeze or cough into the tissue\nDispose of the tissue\nThoroughly wash your hands with soap and water\n\nIf you cannot quickly find a tissue or other disposable towel to sneeze or cough into, \u00a0the next best course of action is to sneeze into the crook of your elbow. Bend your arm, and make sure you sneeze into, not over, your elbow.\nIn the event you sneeze or cough into your hands, don\u2019t panic. Find the nearest sink and wash your hands as soon as possible. On your way to the sink, try to touch as few surfaces as possible to reduce the spread of germs.\nThe best way to prevent the spread of germs when you are sick, however, is to stay at home so you do not infect others.\nSo, the next time you have a cold or feel a sneeze coming on, make sure you have tissues handy to stop the spray of germs and keep others healthy.