Melbourne: A professor from University of Sydney has said that the practice of covering the nose and mouth with the hands when sneezing and coughing are more likely to help in spreading rather than preventing the spread of flu.
Professor Guy Eslick said that it is best to cough or sneeze directly into a tissue and the next best solution for a person is to use their sleeve, News.com.au reported.
According to the federal health department guidelines, flu viruses are able to survive on unwashed hands for half hour and on cloth, paper and tissues for up to 12 hours.
Eslick said that this is the reason why it is important to always wash hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing nose, and to dispose of used tissues straight away.
He wrote to the Medical Journal of Australia after he saw NSW Health posters that he said indicated that coughing into the hands was an acceptable method to stop flu from spreading.
NSW Health said that the ad campaign referred to by Eslick is from last year and a caricature of a person coughing is not meant to be an instruction on how to cough and sneeze safely.
The study has been published in the Medical Journal of Australia.