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Hand not over mouth when coughing

(29 Posts)
Edenviolet Fri 06-Feb-15 11:38:31

Went shopping this morning and in front of us was a lady with a little boy of about 2. He was coughing a lot everywhere and in the direction of my ds (also 2) so I moved the buggy back a bit.

He carried on and started laughing, then so did his mum. He coughed again and she copied him and it went on whilst they were paying, coughing everywhere and laughing??

I wanted to say something but didn't as really hate confrontation.
My ds is 2, if he coughs we ask him to put his hand over his mouth, if he sneezes he does and then has his hands washed. I thought it was just basic manners????

AIBU to have found it disgusting? Should I have said something?

LetticeKnollys Fri 06-Feb-15 11:49:07

YANBU, this grosses me out too. I used to especially hate it when DS was a tiny baby because you are always hearing horror stories about them catching bugs and becoming seriously ill. Unfortunately I think DC's bodily functions tend to be a blind spot to parents who are around them all the time.

It's far worse when adults do it themselves though!

BigbyWolf Fri 06-Feb-15 11:49:49

Yanbu to have found it disgusting. It is.
My children have been taught to always cover their mouths when they cough.
I wouldn't have said anything, I would have just silently judged!

HappyAgainOneDay Fri 06-Feb-15 11:58:47

I agree with the others and would have turned the pushchair round in an obvious way. Was the mother laughing because she realised that you disapproved?

I was in a clothes shop near the checkout - plenty of space around and only a couple of people - and I saw a 30s/40s woman chewing gum with her mouth wide open all the time. I passed her as I went to the checkout and I just said, "Keep your mouth closed while you chew." (No, I didn't say please). I didn't look back to see her reaction but I felt hot and red faced. Pleased that I'd said something though.

OhYouBadBadKitten Fri 06-Feb-15 12:00:24

You really need to teach him to cough into his elbow, not his hand.

Edenviolet Fri 06-Feb-15 12:01:58

I think the mum was just copying and laughing with him as if it were a game rather than because I had moved the buggy back and probably had a horrified expression on my face.

nocabbageinmyeye Fri 06-Feb-15 12:11:56

You should teach him to cough/sneeze into his elbow joint/arm, not his hand ;) But it is a bit gross, I must admit though I never put too much thought into it with dd2, she is 18 months and coughs for attention as she loves someone to rub her back, it's a fake cough, I teach her manners and show her to cover her mouth, but she's 18 months if she coughs and doesn't cover her mouth then I'll show her again but she's learning, if the person behind me moves their buggy I'll just roll my eyes (although I wouldn't be laughing and doing it myself that being the difference)

SomewhereIBelong Fri 06-Feb-15 12:15:27

we do the cough into your elbow thing too - otherwise you end up touching stuff with germ ridden hands - which is as bad as coughing on them in the first place

Mycuphasacrack Fri 06-Feb-15 12:18:25


Doctors surgery yesterday. Plenty of adults coughing everywhere.

One child with severe disabilities (sorry totally ignorant of what it may have been) but in wheelchair, head between brace, tube in her nose etc. Everytime she coughed her mum got up walked around to her and held a hanky over her mouth.

Lazy arse adults just coughing into the air

Molotov Fri 06-Feb-15 12:26:06

Yes, we do the 'vampire cough/sneeze' too smile

You are correct OP, it is basic manners to not openly cough/sneeze everywhere.

I would have said something along the lines of 'Oh dear! What a bad cough!' to make the mum aware I was noticing her child had a cough. If he openly coughed again I probably would have said 'he really should cover his mouth when he coughs'.

In fact, I'm sure I would have walked away (assuming all my shopping wasn't on the conveyor belt!)

I did walk out of a library baby rhymes session once when a mum bought her older baby in who had weeping chickenpox spots. My dd was only about 6mo then and I was disgusted when I heard the mum say "I just can't sit in he house any more! I've had to bring him out!"

FarelyKnuts Fri 06-Feb-15 12:28:41

They are teaching my 5yo to cough/sneeze into her elbow joint at school. Eminently sensible, something we were never taught and never occurred to me to teach her. I did teach her to cover her mouth however!
Coughing in someone's face is disgusting

CrapBag Fri 06-Feb-15 12:30:35


Was in the doctors the other day and dd had been playing with the toys when another child came in. After a while dd cam and sat next to me and this child followed her over and stood a little way away and just kept coughing (towards us, mouth wide open) and watching us for ages. Once the (looked like) grandparent told her to put her hand over her mouth, she didn't and just carried on coughing at us. she didnt bother to tell her again. Dd was going to get down and go over but I told her to stay with me and ignored the child until she finally went away. It was disgusting.

Edenviolet Fri 06-Feb-15 13:19:08

I didn't know about the elbow thing, we have just been teaching to cough or sneeze with hand over mouth then washing hands but I will try the elbow instead.

Girlwhowearsglasses Fri 06-Feb-15 13:44:21

Yes to elbow - before it's too late. My DS1s nursery did this and I think it's much better, but the grandparents etc don't so it gets diluted

Worksallhours Fri 06-Feb-15 14:06:37

This is one of those areas where I really think we need an old-fashioned public health campaign with big modernist posters on billboards in public places.

"Coughs and sneezes spread diseases. Always use your handkerchief!"

I also think it is about time we also had a public health campaign about spitting as well. TB rates are on the rise again (one of the towns near me is now the TB capital of Europe) and because a few months ago, when I was walking to work, someone spat and it landed on my boot. angry

Another one: vomiting on the street. It can spread norovirus.

Feminine Fri 06-Feb-15 14:08:40

My children were educated in the US for ages, they had to sneeze in to their elbow.
I mentioned it to the headteacher here, and l got confused
Makes so much more sense.
Think l might mention it again actually.

Girlwhowearsglasses Fri 06-Feb-15 14:10:38

I think its good (elbow sneeze) but it's a life habit that needs starting very small - I reckon it becomes ingrained to use hand and very difficult to change once you've learnt it that way.

Feminine Fri 06-Feb-15 14:15:17

Really girl? l just changed over. smile

Feminine Fri 06-Feb-15 14:15:43

I was 34 then.

NickiFury Fri 06-Feb-15 14:18:08

You'd have hated us this morning then. My ds sneezed right next to a baby (about one year old) in the trolley next to him, literally inches away. I did tell him off though and did not encourage it, I was blush.

MagpieCursedTea Fri 06-Feb-15 14:22:53

Well I've learned something new today, elbow sneezes! Thanks MNers! smile
And no OP, YANBU, that's grim.

DisappointedOne Fri 06-Feb-15 14:34:29

Never tell children to cough into their hands. Teach them to cough into the crook of their elbow. Their hands touch everything, their elbows don't. ;)

MrSimms Fri 06-Feb-15 14:36:15

I swear I have never seen anyone cough into their elbow.

Doesn't it make people go confused ?

Molotov Fri 06-Feb-15 14:58:20

Even if people do go confused MrSimms, I'm sure they'd be thankful for not catching whatever lurgy ails us smile

Feminine Fri 06-Feb-15 15:56:37

mrsimmsyou probably haven't seen it, as it just looks like you are looking down... And it kind of muffles it! grin

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