Cover your cough to be a Super Kid: Cough into elbow

Coughing and sneezing can spread illness. Wearing a mask and covering your cough can help keep your family and others safer — cough into your elbow!

Coughing and sneezing can spread illness — everything from the common cold to COVID-19. Wearing a mask is just one part of being a Super Kid; covering your cough by coughing into your elbow is another way to keep you and the community healthy.

Why cough into your elbow?

It’s important to teach kids to cover their cough in way that limits the spread of germs. When a person coughs or sneezes into the open air without covering it, the germs can travel up to 5 feet from the mouth.

If your child covers their cough with their hands, it may stop the spread of the cough, but the droplets are now on the hands. If your child touches anything else after, it will continue the spread of germs.

However, if you teach kids to sneeze or cough into their elbow, it’s less likely to spread the germs because:

  • The inside of the elbow can fully cover the mouth, blocking the spray of germs.
  • The inside part of the elbow isn’t a place that we routinely touch on our bodies or that touches other surfaces — so we can worry a little less about that spread.

It’s important to remember that even if we cough into our elbow, that hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of germs. Doing both together can keep kids healthy!

Take the Super Kid pledge

Be sure to post pictures of your Super Kid showing how they can cover their cough by tagging @NortonChildrens and #NortonChildrensSuperKid.

How to teach your child to cough into their elbow

Showing your child how to cough in their elbow can be a fun activity. You can explain to them that coughing into their elbow is like being a superhero coving their face with their cape. Being a Super Kid calls for coughing into your elbow — a Super Kid helps keep germs from spreading. In addition to coughing into an elbow, Super Kids pledge to:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep your hands to yourself.