According to Professor Guy Eslick of the University of Sydney, covering with hands while coughing or sneezing could actually spread the germs than prevent others from infection.
Professor Eslick had written a letter to the Medical Journal of Australia after seeing New South Wales Health posters, which indicated that covering cough or sneeze with hands was acceptable.
However, NSW Health defended that the poster from 2012 showed a person coughing and does not depict any instruction about how to cough safely. It was told that NSW Health would soon release 2013 influenza public health campaign, which would include the updated recommendations to prevent the spread of flu.
It is best to cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of it. When tissue is not available, it is better to cough into inner elbow than coughing in to hands.
The letter is published in the Medical Journal of Australia.