African Journal of Respiratory Medicine
Respiratory Hygiene & Cough Etiquette: Promoting Health and Consideration

Opinion - (2023) Volume 18, Issue 4

Vida Ross*
*Correspondence: Vida Ross, Department of Pulmonology, Northern University, Paraguay, Email:

Received: 01-Aug-2023, Manuscript No. ajrm-23-115624; Editor assigned: 03-Aug-2023, Pre QC No. ajrm-23-115624(PQ0; Reviewed: 17-Aug-2023, QC No. ajrm-23-115624; Revised: 22-Aug-2023, Manuscript No. ajrm-23-115624(R); Published: 29-Aug-2023, DOI: 10.54931/1747-5597.23.18.97

Department of Pulmonology, Northern University, Paraguay


Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette are crucial practices that play a significant role in preventing the spread of respiratory infections, including influenza, common colds, and more recently, COVID-19. These simple yet effective measures are essential in protecting both individuals and communities from contagious illnesses. This article delves into the importance of respiratory hygiene and outlines key practices to adopt for maintaining a healthy and considerate environment.


Respiratory hygiene is the practice of maintaining good personal and environmental hygiene to reduce the transmission of respiratory infections. It is especially important in crowded places, healthcare settings, and during outbreaks of contagious diseases. By following these practices, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of spreading or contracting respiratory illnesses. Key Practices of Respiratory Hygiene and Cough Etiquette are: Cover Your Mouth and Nose. When coughing or sneezing, it is essential to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. This simple act can prevent respiratory droplets, which may contain viruses or bacteria, from dispersing into the air. Used tissues should be disposed of immediately in a lined trash bin. This helps prevent the spread of germs through contact with contaminated surfaces. After coughing or sneezing, or after touching used tissues, it is crucial to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections. Use Hand Sanitizer When Soap and Water Are Unavailable. In situations where soap and water are not readily available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content can be an effective alternative. Practicing social distancing by staying at least six feet away from others helps reduce the risk of respiratory droplets reaching another person. This is particularly important in crowded or enclosed spaces. Wearing a mask, especially in indoor public settings or situations where social distancing is challenging, provides an additional layer of protection by containing respiratory droplets. Touching the face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth, can introduce germs into the body. By refraining from touching your face, you can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Practice Respiratory Etiquette Even If Not Feeling Unwell. It is important to adopt respiratory hygiene practices even if you are not exhibiting symptoms of illness. Asymptomatic carriers of viruses can still spread them to others. In healthcare settings, stringent respiratory hygiene measures are imperative to protect both healthcare workers and patients. Hospitals and clinics should have clear protocols in place for patients exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illnesses, including providing masks, tissues, and hand sanitizer, as well as ensuring proper ventilation and isolation procedures.


Respiratory hygiene and cough etiquette are simple yet powerful tools in the fight against respiratory infections. By adopting these practices, individuals can play a significant role in protecting themselves and others from contagious illnesses. In addition to personal responsibility, healthcare providers and institutions should promote and enforce these measures to create safe and healthy environments for all. By collectively embracing respiratory hygiene, we can contribute to a healthier, more considerate society.

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