Woman sneezes through a mask in her elbowCorrect Technique Photo: Drazen Zigic (Shutterstock)

It seems that there is some confusion about what to do when you have to wear a mask and sneeze. As Matt Karolian noted on TwitterA man on the recent impeachment vote pulled down his mask to sneeze into his hand, which is exactly the opposite of what you’re supposed to be doing.

The purpose of wearing your mask is to keep your personal breath droplets away from the air that other people may be breathing. When you have to sneeze – a phenomenon that expels a hell of a lot of droplets – here’s what you need to do:

  1. Leave the mask on
  2. Sneeze into your elbow or a tissue (through the mask)
  3. If the inside of your mask is unbearably rough now, change your damn mask.

We can all handle it. I believe in us. Wear a change of mask if you’re concerned about soaking your face in sneeze juice for the rest of the day. (It’s good to have extras on hand anyway.)

And while we’re at it, don’t take your mask off to speak. You can talk about it well even when speaking to a crowd (with or without a microphone). The droplets won’t stop coming out of your mouth just because people are listening to you. In fact, speaking, and especially shouting, creates a lot of droplets and the mask’s job is to keep them at bay. Just let the mask do its job.