“Teaching first graders to cough”

The title of this post is also its inspiration. It’s a search string that brought somebody here, and I was actually disappointed when I realized that my site probably didn’t help them at all.

I have first graders. They cough. I try to teach them how to do it without expelling their ick all over me. I should share.

First of all – NEVER HAVE THEM COVER THEIR MOUTH WITH THEIR HANDS! They’ll just use their hands to spread that nastiness all over the place. Yes, some schools can still give their kids hand sanitizer (thank goodness!), but still… will they use it? Really? In the middle of the hallway, 5 minutes away from the classroom? Exactly.

I always tell my students to cough into their elbow. I guess it’s technically the crook of their arm, but they understand what you mean when you say “into your elbow.” Most of the time, during cold and flu season, their arms are covered in clothes, anyway, so they shouldn’t bitch too much about coughing on themselves. Also, I’m not afraid to tell them “I’d rather you cough on you than on me!”

I got the plague pretty bad, this year. I was sick (like, nasty sick) for over three weeks. Hooray, sinus infection! I don’t want to get sick again, this semester. However, I’ve had a really sore throat for two or so weeks, now… I thought it was getting better, but it seems to be just as bad as ever. I’m thinking I might have some form of strep where only the throat is sore. I’m hoping to get tested this week, and probably go back on antibiotics (joy), but it really is annoyingly painful. Like “I don’t want to swallow” painful. Talking doesn’t hurt really badly, just swallowing and singing. But I can still do both.

Anyway, I just wanted to add this bit of advice.

Cough into your elbow.

(This is good advice for adults, too, who are often worse about washing their hands than kids.)

One thought on ““Teaching first graders to cough”

  1. I too suffered from sinus infections from my little germ transportation vehicle (ny daughter) for years until I heard about coughing and sneezing into the elbow. But it is not easy to teach – Constantly reminding “cough into your elbow is not fun. So I created a product to make the teaching and the learning fun. I invite you to check it out – http://www.germywormy.com
    I went from 7 colds/sinus infections a year to 3 and actually none were induced by my daughter (airplane and karaoke microphone to blame)
    I wish you the same success I had, and the same health I enjoy now.

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