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Can you catch a cough or spread it to somebody else? If the cough is a symptom of a viral or bacterial infection, then yes, coughing can spread the infection from one person to the next.1

Cold and flu viruses are usually spread from one person to another in tiny droplets that are produced when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or talks.2 If you breathe in these droplets from an infected person, you can catch the virus.2

This means that some of the most common causes of a cough (like colds and flu) are contagious, and can easily be passed from person to person through coughing.1,2 That’s why it’s important to protect yourself and others against infection by following good health and hygiene habits.3

How to avoid spreading germs through coughing

To avoid catching or passing on a virus, follow common sense and good hygiene:

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.3,4
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.4
  • Throw used tissues in the bin immediately.4
  • Always wash (or sanitise) your hands immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.4
  • Clean your hands regularly throughout the day with soap and water or sanitiser.3,4
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.3,4
  • If you get a cold or flu, avoid close contact with others, and stay home from work or school to avoid spreading the germs.3
  1. Is a cough contagious? MedicineNet. Accessed September 29, 2021.
  2. CDC. How flu spreads. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 21, 2021.
  3. CDC. Practice good health habits. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 21, 2021.
  4. CDC. Coughing and sneezing - etiquette & practice - hygiene - healthy water. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed September 29, 2021.
Sidebar references
  1. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Professional information. 02 November 2021.
  2. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 20 mg/ml Oral Solution. Professional information. 05 October 2021.
  3. Sandoz SA (Pty) Ltd. ACC® 200 (effervescent tablets). Professional information. 08 July 2020.


ACC® 600
[S1] ACC® 600 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 45/10.3/0229. Composition: Each effervescent tablet contains 600 mg acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05CB01.
ACC® Oral Solution
[S1] ACC® 20 mg/ml Oral Solution. Reg. No.: 48/10.3/0261. Composition: Each 1 ml of ACC 20 mg/ml ORAL SOLUTION contains 20 mg acetylcysteine. ATC Code: R05CB01.
ACC® 200
[S1] ACC® 200 (effervescent tablets). Reg. No.: 29/10.2.2/0753. Composition: Each ACC 200 effervescent tablet contains: 200 mg acetylcysteine. Pharmacological Classification: A10.3 Medicines acting on the respiratory system – other.
For full prescribing information refer to the Sandoz Professional Information approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA).

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