Better to breathe through nose or mouth around sick people?

I was in a doctor’s office today next to a guy who was coughing and sneezing without covering his mouth. It made me wonder… if I can’t escape such a situation, am I better off breathing through my mouth or my nose? Which way is better at catching/killing germs? Does it matter at all?

The most important thing is to not shake hands with him, or touch things he’s been touching. Hand to hand transmission is the most important way to catch common illnesses. Notice how often the doctors and nurses wash their hands?

You’re always better off breathing through your nose. There’s a bunch of hair and mucus and cillia designed to catch germs and not let them get deep into your system. It’s nature’s own filter.

But most doctor’s offices around here have masks at the check-in with a sign for those who are sick with respiratory stuff to take one and put it on immediately. Not the case at your doc’s? Maybe you should ask them if they’d consider it. A box of disposable masks is pretty cheap.

You’re always better off breathing through your nose. There’s a bunch of hair and mucus and cillia designed to catch germs and not let them get deep into your system. It’s nature’s own filter.

But most doctor’s offices around here have masks at the check-in with a sign for those who are sick with respiratory stuff to take one and put it on immediately. Not the case at your doc’s? Maybe you should ask them if they’d consider it. A box of disposable masks is pretty cheap.

That’s good advice generally, but I think it doesn’t help the OP. Hand-to-hand transmission works because hands are the vehicle that get non-airborne (or no-longer airborne) particles into the mouth. The OP is asking about particles he knows are airborne. Avoiding shaking hands with Mr. Germ Vector, while an excellent policy, isn’t going to solve the problem he’s asking about.

Nose.

And maybe he would get the hint if you (and others) promptly put some distance between you and him.

I am a bit of an idiot.

I believe I should have said hands are the vehicle that get non-airborne viruses to the FACE (nose, eyes, mouth). Not just mouth.