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"Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases" by Herbert Mayo Bateman, October 1942. Ink & gouache on paper.

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Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases

"Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases" by Herbert Mayo Bateman, October 1942

Catalogue ref: INF 3/407JLinks to the Catalogue


A cartoon scene of man sneezing in crowded cinema, designed by Bateman – already well known for his ‘The Man Who' series. The design was to be used in the series ‘Coughs and Sneezes Spread Diseases', launched by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information.

Advertiser's Weekly noted the launch of the campaign on October 22 1942, the second winter health scheme – consisting of four of Bateman's designs, alongside a more serious diagrammatic poster. Publicity was designed to show how thoughtlessness helps to spread not only the common cold, but also many other diseases. The whole ‘coughs and sneezes' campaign was far more to with fighting absenteeism than concern about people catching a cold.