On the suitability of the distance between the tip of the nose and the middle of the elbow joint for sneezing etiquette as corona infection prophylaxis
During the current corona pandemic, the question to which extent people could reach the middle of the elbow joint with the tip of their nose, which the Federal Ministry of Health recommended as a preventive measure when sneezing, was investigated with the help of an online questionnaire.
The analysis included 316 fully completed online questionnaires and 16 additional telephone interviews, a total of 332 test persons (average age 29.5 (± 14.3) years, average BMI 22.9 (± 3.4) kg/m²; 226 women, 106 men).
The results of this study show that 84.6% of respondents followed the recommended coughing etiquette and sneezed into the crook of their arm, 15.4% did not. The most common reason given for not using it was habit. Nevertheless, 92.8% of the participants found sneezing or coughing in the crook of their arm to be useful.
When measuring the distance, 76.2% of the participants were able to touch the crook of the arm at the specific angle on both sides. The average measured distance was 1.13 cm on the right and 1.23 cm on the left. It was found that the BMI and age had a significant relationship with the measured distance. In a gender-specific comparison, more women than men sneezed into the crook of their arm, while no significant differences were found when measuring the distance.
If the results of this study are put into practice, it makes perfect sense to continue to recommend sneezing or coughing in the crook of the arm. However, a note should be attached to this recommendation, which prompts one to take the sneeze position once and to check whether the crook of the arm can really be reached effectively. If this is not possible, alternative options should be recommended.