Respiratory tract infections (RTI) are infections that happen in the lungs, chest, sinuses, nose and throat, for example, coughs and colds, the flu and pneumonia. RTIs can spread easily from person-to person through the air, through person-to person contact (touching hands, hugging, kissing) or by touching contaminated surfaces.

Coughing and sneezing is a way in which our body tries to get rid of any harmful microbes and particles we might inhale from getting deeper into our respiratory tract. It is important that good respiratory hygiene is taught from a young age, and that key messages are built on over time. This is especially important in the approach to the winter cold/flu season each year, or when there is an outbreak of an infectious disease.

This lesson plan supports students to understand why respiratory hygiene matters and what good practice looks like. They do this through creating a giant sneeze, and identifying how different barriers can prevent harmful microbes from spreading.

Learning Outcomes:

  • All students will:
  • Understand that infection can spread through coughs and sneezes
  • Understand that covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough, or sneeze helps prevent the spread of infection
  • Understand that coughing and sneezing in your hand can still spread infection

Activities Include:

  • Main Activity:
  • Super Sneezes
  • Optional Activity:
  • Super Slimey Snot
  • Extension Activities:
  • Poster
  • Respiratory Hygiene Quiz
  • Fill in the Blanks

Curriculum Links:

  • Science:
    • Working scientifically
    • Living things and their habitats
    • Animals, including humans
  • English:
    • Reading and comprehension
    • Spoken language
    • Health and prevention
  • Mathematics:
    • Comparing measurements