But just how easily does the concoction of saliva and mucus spread if you do end up using your hands – and don’t clean them afterwards?
Students at Futures Institute, Banbury, created an experiment to mark Science Week (March 6th to 15th) to reveal all and to encourage their peers to follow the Government’s advice.
Using a mixture of tonic water and non-bio washing powder in a spray bottle to mimic the droplets that emerge when sneezing, 15-year-old student Hedrh AL-saied who is in Year 10, sprayed his hands with the liquid.
Both products contain ingredients that make them glow under UV light. Hedrh then grabbed a door handle using the hand he had sprayed on moments earlier.
Seconds later a member of staff wearing latex gloves grabs the same door handle and then inspects her hand under UV light. As the video shows, her hand is left spattered in Hedrh’s ‘saliva and mucus’.
Hedrh told the Banbury Guardian: ‘’Lots of people use their hands to catch a sneeze and then don’t clean them afterwards. This experiment shows how easily germs are spread and they don’t have to be.
‘’Next time, I will sneeze into my elbow.’’
Dr Catherine Pickup, Director of Project-based Learning at Futures Institute, Banbury, said in addition to the experiment being timely it also tied in with students at the school currently looking at the subject of explosions.
She said: ‘’It made us think about the explosion of a sneeze and persuading the students to improve their hygiene.
‘’The experiment has made more students think about washing their hands, not sneezing into them and that it’s better to use your elbow.’’