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    #1

    I might catch your cough

    Parent: Cover your mouth when you cough.

    Child: Why?

    Parent: Because if you don't, I might catch your cough.

    I've googled this, and found that cough in itself is not contagious, but the underlying diseases that produce the cough. I don't know why the child is coughing yet. How do I answer? You might be getting something I don't want to catch?
    Not a teacher.

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    #2

    Re: I might catch your cough

    It is usually assumed that the underlying reason for the cough is a cold. So, "...I might catch your cold".

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    #3

    Re: I might catch your cough

    The answer could also be 'So that you don't spread germs'.

  1. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: I might catch your cough

    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaDan View Post
    It is usually assumed that the underlying reason for the cough is a cold.
    I don't think so.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: I might catch your cough

    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaDan View Post
    It is usually assumed that the underlying reason for the cough is a cold. So, "...I might catch your cold".
    There are multiple reasons why someone might have a cough. It could be one symptom of a cold, it could be lung cancer, it could be a chest infection ...
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

    Re: I might catch your cough

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    There are multiple reasons why someone might have a cough. It could be one symptom of a cold, it could be lung cancer, it could be a chest infection ...
    ...or emphysema, or... But when someone coughs, is "lung cancer" what really comes to your mind first?

    curiousmarcus: Apparently I cannot be casual about medical terms. So I suppose in order to correct my earlier usage of "cold", I should say, "potentially infectious chest condition".

    But seriously, we usually just assume a cold or maybe flu, and mean that these things are infectious, easily spread, and coughing spreads airborne particles which can carry the bacteria or virus responsible for whatever is making you cough.

    Then again, it might just be caused by dry air; maybe something in your throat. Perhaps you have Dysphagia. Whatever the cause, coughing without covering your mouth often causes a spray of whatever is in your mouth - maybe just saliva, but who knows, right? - to fly out of your mouth and onto other people, or things we share and don't want your spit on.

    But then, your post does imply that there is something infectious involved. Most non-medical persons will assume a cold (or maybe flu) is responsible. The other things I mentioned - emphysema, dry air, something caught in your throat, dysphagia - are not infectious conditions, and so are excluded from consideration.

    Oh, and lung cancer. Lung cancer is not infectious.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: I might catch your cough

    No, lung cancer isn't the first thing that comes to mind but a cough can certainly be a symptom. (There's a regular ad on British TV reminding watchers that a cough that lasts more than three weeks can be a sign of lung cancer and encourages sufferers to visit their doctor.)

    I agree that someone who hears someone else cough might assume that they have something infectious and would, therefore, prefer that that person didn't cough near them.

    However, I still disagree with your assertion in post #2 that "it is usually assumed that the underlying reason for a cough is a cold". If the person showed other signs of a cold (runny nose, sore throat, hoarse voice etc), then it would be my assumption.

    Anyway, returning to the original question, in my opinion, the parent would answer "Why?" with "I don't want to catch something" or "I don't want to catch whatever you have". Of course, the best reason for covering your mouth when you cough is that it's simply not polite/nice not to do so!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #8

    Re: I might catch your cough

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    However, I still disagree with your assertion in post #2 that "it is usually assumed that the underlying reason for a cough is a cold". If the person showed other signs of a cold (runny nose, sore throat, hoarse voice etc), then it would be my assumption.
    Okay, I see now where we are at cross purposes. The OP said:
    Parent: Because if you don't, I might catch your cough.
    "Catch..." implies infectious, hence my assumption that the options would be limited to something transferable, and hence this was the thought in the parent's mind. I think the context provided in the OP justifies my assertion, though I certainly agree with you on wider principle.

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    #9

    Re: I might catch your cough

    I don't see much wrong with saying I might catch your cough to a young child. It may not be exactly right, but it gets the point across.

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