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Blow Breathe Cough

Published: 6/16/2023 2:13:12 AM

Hearing Australia and Menzies School of Health Research have collaborated to create an animated version of this classroom favourite: the Blow Breathe Cough activity.

The Blow Breathe Cough (BBC) activity helps early childhood and school educators teach young children about nose blowing, coughing into elbows, and hand and face washing and drying. These are essential for preventing the spread of the germs that cause ear trouble, coughs and colds. If you haven’t done the BBC activity with students before, this animation is a great way to get started.

The animation, created by Oliver Abbott animation, is available in nine languages including Kimberley Kriol, Martu, Ngaanyatjara, Eastern Arrernte, Warlpiri and English.

We worked with Prof Amanda Leach at Menzies School of Health Research to make sure that the activities in the animation are evidence-based or based on good practice. This includes blowing your nose until empty, washing hands and faces, drying hands fully, and coughing into elbows.

Teachers who already do this daily with their classes say they feel it results in improved hearing, fewer runny noses and ears, fewer coughs and colds, and improved attention in class. Importantly, teachers say they feel it helps young children learn to blow their noses independently and well.
Families, teachers, early childhood workers and hearing health workers all contributed to the development of the animation. We hope you and your students love it!

You can check out the animation on our Hearing Australia YouTube.

Our classroom resources can be accessed below:

Blow: colour in and fill in word
Breathe: colour in and fill in word
Cough: colour in and fill in word
K - year 2: find a word
Year 3-6: find a word
Year 3-6: paper ball
Tissue box
Certificate of completion


Barker, R.N. & Thomas, D.P. (1994). A practical intervention to address ear and lung disease in Aboriginal primary school children of central Australia. Journal of Paediatric Child Health, 30 155-59.

Doyle, J. & Ristevski, E. (2010). Less germs, less mucus, less snot: teachers’ and health workers’ perceptions of the benefits and barriers of ear health programs in lower primary school classes. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 16, 352-359.

Gill, A., Sandbach, K., Harkus, S., & Abbott, O. (2017). The Blow Breathe Cough campaign: a learning partnership to develop a message about healthy hearing. Songlines: Our Languages Matter: Western Sydney University, Parramatta, N.S.W., 23-24th October 2017.
Huang, C., Ma, W. & Stack, S. (2012). The hygienic efficacy of different hand-drying methods: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 87(8), 791-798.

McDonald, E., Bailie, R., Brewster, D. & Morris, P. (2008). Are hygiene and public health interventions likely to improve outcomes for Australian Aboriginal children living in remote communities? A systematic review of the literature. BMC Public Health 2008, 8:153.

Patrick, D. R., Findon, G. & Miller, T.E. (1997). Residual moisture determines the level of touch-contact-associated bacterial transfer following hand washing. Epidemiol Infect 119(3): 319-325. 

Special thank you to the clever final year Visual Communications Design students at Western Sydney University who developed the logo and a set of classroom resources to accompany the animation, including a colour-in tissue box cover, BBC-themed ‘find a words’ and ‘fill in the blanks’, certificates for students, and step by step instructions for a blow-up paper ball.


The flags of the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander peoples

Hearing Australia acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land that we live and work on, and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.