“If you need to cough or sneeze, please do it into your sleeve.” 

October 2022, Sawsan Khuri. It’s a ground rule for any in person gathering, equal to respectful listening and avoiding distractions.

If it’s not covid19, do people still cover their mouth when they cough?

Clearly they should. Do you?

The pandemic taught us many lessons and the informed reader now knows more about respiratory infections that we ever wished to. Now that we are all more or less back to in person working, or for the most part a blended system of both in person and virtual, we are also back to the regular autumnal cold and flu season, with the COVID19 virus added to the mix.

Over the past week I’ve been out and about quite a lot, including on buses and trams, in shopping malls and even to a football game with 74,000 other spectators (ManU vs Newcastle if you’d like to know). Hardly a mask in sight, and that’s fine, but are we forgetting that COVID19 is not the only nasty bug out there?

I don’t really want to catch a cold, whatever its virological provenance, or the flu, or COVID19 again. So I’ve started to include “if you need to cough or sneeze, please do it into your sleeve” in the ground rules when facilitating meetings. It’s simple, it is good manners, and it is equal in impact on the group to respectful listening and being present.