Respiratory infections such as flus and colds are easily transmitted from one person to another. One way they’re transmitted is through droplets sprayed in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection (for example, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, stuffy nose or fatigue), limit your contacts with other people to avoid contaminating them. If that is impossible, you can take certain precautions nonetheless.

Cover your mouth and nose

When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper. Throw the tissue paper away and wash your hands thoroughly.

If you do not have tissue paper, cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or in your upper sleeve. This reduces the risk of contamination because these body parts do not come into contact with people or objects.

However, this method is not suitable if you need to hold a baby or young child in your arms. In this case, make sure you always have clean tissue papers handy.

How to cough or sneeze without contaminating

Cover your mouth and nose with tissue paper.

Throw the tissue paper away.

Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow.

Wash your hands thoroughly.

Use a face mask

It is recommended that you wear a face mask if you meet the following 3 conditions:

  • You have a fever
  • You are coughing or sneezing
  • You are in a health care setting such as at an emergency department or in the waiting room of a medical clinic. Face masks are usually available in these places or you will be given one if you ask

How to wear a face mask

Wear the face mask over your face by placing the stiff edge up.

Mould the stiff edge of the face mask to the shape of your nose.

Lower the bottom of the face mask under your chin.

General instructions

  • Wear the face mask for the entire time you are in the health care setting or medical clinic
  • Make sure the mask covers your nose and mouth at all times
  • Change face mask when it gets wet
  • After usage, throw the face mask in a closed garbage can or one that is out of reach of children. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards