What Do You Say When Someone Coughs, Sneezes, or Hiccups?

Have you ever been confused about the right words to say when someone coughs or hiccups around you? You’re not the only one.

It is an absurd complaint, however, considering the well-known replies that are often used in these situations.

Some people do not like to use “Bless you” which is the most common response in these cases. There are several alternative phrases you can utilize in polite situations, not-so-polite situations, and scorning situations.

Keep reading for the best responses you can find on the net.

14 Things to Say When A Person Coughs

What Do You Say When Someone Coughs

  • Bless you.
  • Sorry
  • Feeling good?
  • Gesundheit (Health in German)
  • Saha (Health in Arabic)
  • Wish you good health
  • Are you okay?
  • Want some water?
  • Take care
  • All right?
  • Would you like to take a seat?
  • You should do a checkup.
  • Please, cover your mouth
  • Ignore

Bless You

When a person coughs around you, you can simply say Bless you. Coughs are often repeated and it has become normal to use this phrase every time a person coughs.

It is the most acceptable response in virtually every part of the world. In fact, it is usually seen as a sign of a good upbringing. In other words, if you don’t give this response when a person coughs around you, it is seen as a sign of disrespect.

As often as Bless you is used, not everyone likes it. If you are one of those who don’t like using this phrase, keep reading for other options.

Sorry

This is another generally acceptable response when a person coughs. Coughs and Sneezes can be caused by simple allergic reactions.

Hiccups are usually caused by dehydration and, sometimes, it denotes an underlying health issue. When you say Sorry to someone coughing persistently, you should probably help with some water or suggest some treatment.

In some places, Sorry doesn’t sound well enough. They would rather hear you say Bless you than Sorry. However, both are very good responses. Keep reading for alternative responses.

Feeling good?

This is a simple question that suggests you care for the person around you. You can say Bless you or Sorry, then add this as a suffix.

Even if the person doesn’t approve of either of the first phrases you responded with, this question will come off as a caring one.

When a person coughs repeatedly, it gets pretty annoying and you don’t want to keep saying Sorry or Bless you.

You desperately want the person to shut up because you are getting uncomfortable. Asking this question indirectly suggests that the person should get treated.

Gesundheit

This is a German word that means Good Health. If you are just looking for a really cool alternative to the phrases mentioned earlier, this is the perfect word you can utilize in all three situations.

Coughs and Sneezes can be allergic reactions but they may also suggest health issues. Hiccups most likely suggest health issues, though not always.

Wishing the person good health will be accepted well. It is a funny response as you may have to explain what the word means. You should use this when talking to someone you are very familiar with.

You can also go on to suggest some treatments. You will appear polite and equally caring.

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Saha

This is another alternative word to the phrase Good Health. You can choose to say Gesundheit or just say Saha. It is an Arabic word. Just like the word before this, this response works perfectly in all three situations.

As long as you want to appear polite, this is a nice response. Arabic is not a widely used language in some places so you may have to explain the meaning of this word after using it.

If you don’t want to appear too friendly, you may want to consider other responses in the list below.

Wish you good health

There is no way anyone is averse to this response unless you’re talking to a person who doesn’t approve of English.

Rather than saying Gesundheit or Saha, you can say this. It is long but it also saves you the stress of having to explain what it means.

By saying this, you are staying polite and showing that you care for the person that has just coughed. It sounds a bit absurd if it is just one cough. If a person coughs persistently, you can give this response and suggest a treatment.

This is also a very nice response if you suspect that the person has faked his/her cough. Wearing a carefree expression will make it obvious that you know about the person’s pretense.

Are you okay?

This is another question you can ask if a person coughs around you. It is a simple question but it shows that you notice the person around you and you care about him/her.

It may sound a bit unfriendly so you have to keep your tone moderated. You can choose to say Bless you or Sorry first before asking about the person’s health.

By asking this question, you can engage in a conversation and know if the person has any health issues or not. You can also suggest a treatment for the person.

Want some water?

This is another question that fits into the situation. It is a good question to ask when a person coughs around you.

In some cases, coughs are caused by dehydration so offering to get water for the person is a very friendly gesture. By saying this, you show that you care for him/her.

Water may not be what is needed at the moment so it is normal if the person asks you not to worry about it.

Take care

This doesn’t sound very polite, does it? If a person coughs persistently, you can say Take Care. It sounds absurd to some people but it is an acceptable response to many people. It is as acceptable as saying Bless you or Sorry in that situation.

If you don’t know what to say or do when a person shows any of these signs persistently, Take Care will work well enough.

All right?

This doesn’t seem very polite to some people also. Some do not approve of asking questions. Rather, they would want to hear you say Bless you or Sorry.

However, this is a good response. It is as good as asking how a person is feeling. By asking this question, you engage the person in a conversation and you get to know if there are any underlying health issues.

After asking this question, you can suggest a treatment to the person. It is a very polite gesture and may show more care than simply repeating Bless you.

Would you like to take a seat?

This is another very nice response. By offering a seat to the person, you are showing that you are paying attention to him/her and you care about whatever the person is dealing with. You can choose to say Bless you or Sorry first but this gesture will be more appreciated.

After offering the person a seat, you can ask the person questions about his/her health. After that, you can suggest a treatment to the person. It shows you are polite and caring.

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If you don’t care about politeness, there are more direct responses in the list below.

You should do a checkup

This is a good response when a person is coughing persistently. When a person takes water after persistent coughs and it continues, you can suggest a treatment to the person. There is a high chance that the person is ill and needs to be treated.

By suggesting a treatment, you show that you notice the person in the room and you care about his/her health.

Please, cover your mouth

You may be willing to use a response that is not very polite. If you don’t want to appear too friendly but do not want to appear overly rude, this response is not too bad. Some people use this response and do not realize how unfriendly it sounds.

Asking a coughing person to cover his/her mouth can sound like an accusation against the person’s health. It can also be quite embarrassing to accuse a person of having his/her mouth open while coughing or sneezing.

If you don’t care about how you sound or you think the person really needs to close his/her mouth, just tell him/her directly.

Ignore

This is the best option in many cases. When a person fakes a cough to express disgust, wearing a carefree expression can be the best idea. This is only a bad option when a person is trying to pass a message to you.

Unless you don’t appreciate the act and the message is not important to you, ignoring is a bad idea. However, if you are sure it is fake, you always have the option to ignore it.

Best 8 Responses for Sneezes

What Do You Say When Someone Coughs

  • Would you like a tissue?
  • Can you step back, please?
  • Don’t you think you should get some treatment?
  • Do you want to say something?
  • We shouldn’t spread this
  • Bless you
  • Sorry
  • Ignore

Would you like a tissue?

This is a similar question to Would you like some water? And Would you like to take a seat? These responses undoubtedly show that you care about the person around you and will be appreciated.

This is very polite because you are not just suggesting that the person get a tissue. Rather, you are offering the person a tissue.

You should be ready to get the person a tissue. Sneezing can be messy so there is a high chance that this gesture will not be underappreciated.

Can you step back, please?

This is another quite rude response to give in this case unless you suspect an illness that can be spread through contact.

When you ask the person to step back, you are not appearing polite in any way so it is advisable to pass your message in a different way.

However, you may need to pass on some messages directly. If the person happens to be too close to you and you need him/her to step back, you can go ahead and say this.

If you don’t want to appear rude, choose an alternative response from the list above and excuse yourself.

Don’t you think you should get some treatment?

If you don’t want to appear overly rude without sounding too friendly, this response should work fine in that situation.

Saying this shows that you notice the person in the room with you and you care about what is happening at that moment. It could also sound like you are feeling disturbed by the person’s sneezes.

If you want to give this suggestion and sound as polite as possible, you should ask how the person feels and offer some help.

If you don’t want to appear too friendly, you can just ask this question. This will spark a short conversation and it will end as quickly as you want it.

Do you want to say something?

In most cases, fake coughs and sneezes are mainly done to get the attention of one person in the midst of a lot of people. To condone the act, it is best to just look at the person and wait for the secret message.

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If you don’t appreciate it, you can ask this question loudly. The person will feel embarrassed. If you don’t want that, you can ask this question silently and listen to the person’s response.

However, this response is perfect if you think the person is trying to pass a secret message to another person. This stops the person from passing the message he/she intended.

We shouldn’t spread this

This is as rude as it sounds. If you prefer to sound rude to the person you are talking to, this is one way to do it right. It is similar to telling a person to step away or cover his/her mouth. However, this is even more direct.

By making this statement, you are implying that the person is infected and you don’t want the person to infect you.

If you want a person to understand you without sounding rude, it is better to show some care first and offer treatment. Otherwise, this comment will not be appreciated.

Bless you

It is more common to use Bless you in response to a sneeze than to a cough. It is generally acceptable to say Bless you when a person sneezes around you. In some places, it is even found disrespectful not to say it.

If you sneeze in public, this is the response you will most likely get. In most cases, people say it without even thinking about it. That is because most people are already used to the phrase.

Sorry

This word works in virtually every case. You can simply say Sorry when a person sneezes around you if you don’t know anything else to do.

Saying Sorry shows that you notice the person in the room. If you don’t want to appear too friendly, this is a nice one.

Ignore

This is the best option when a person fakes a sneeze to express disgust. Once you are sure the person is faking a sneeze, wearing a carefree expression can be the best idea.

This is only a bad option when a person is trying to pass a message to you. Ignoring the sign means you won’t be getting the message that is being passed to you.

However, fake sneezes and coughs are often scornful gestures so Ignoring those signs can be the best thing to do.

Best 4 Responses for Hiccups

What Do You Say When Someone Coughs, Sneezes, or Hiccups

  • Would you like some water?
  • Sorry
  • Are you alright?
  • Take care of yourself.

Would you like some water?

In most cases, hiccups are caused by dehydration so water is exactly what the person needs at the moment. By saying this, you show that you care.

You are also offering to get some water. You must let the person know that water is what he/she needs at that moment.

Sorry

When a person has hiccups, it is best to say Sorry. Unlike the cases of persistent coughs and sneezes, Bless you doesn’t work in the case of Hiccups.

Hiccups suggest dehydration and should be taken care of. It could also mean other things. However, saying Sorry can is great so you don’t appear carefree, even if you don’t do anything else.

Are you alright?

This is a good question you can ask if a person hiccups around you. It is a simple question but it shows that you notice the person around you and you care about him/her.

It is not common to fake hiccups so you may have to react genuinely. Hiccups can be dangerous. When the signs are persistent, it is best to show that you care

By asking this question, you can engage in a conversation and know if the person has any health issues or not. You can also suggest a treatment for the person.

Take care of yourself

As mentioned earlier, Hiccups can suggest health issues so it is good to show care for the person. If you want to appear caring, this is a nice response.

You can offer water to the person or even suggest that the person should see a doctor.

Final Words

There are several responses for several situations and there are several preferences for several people. Some of these responses won’t sit well with some people. However, it is some of the best options for some people.

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