Professors at Laughsborough University, Texas, have released figures showing that there is a direct causitive effect between those said to have contracted coughs and colds, and utterances of the phrase "bless you".
"Bless you!" is a term used by social do-gooders in order to ingratiate themselves with people unfortunate enough to have inadvertently sneezed in their vicinity. Requiring either a confirmative nod of the head, or a hastily snuffled "Thank you", there are many who already find the practice irritating. However, now studies have shown that not only is it a social irritant, but that it may actually be the cause of coughs and colds.
Dr Geoff Reynolds told us:
"At first we thought the correlation was simply that; however, on further study we found that it is causative."
Reynolds refers to a study in 1998 that showed a correlation between colds and "bless you", but many dismissed the findings as absurdly obvious, since colds and the phrase naturally do go together. Reynolds' team, however, further discovered concrete evidence.
"What we found was that because people are so keen to thank the blesser, they are quick to remove the handkerchief, tissue or hand that has stifled the germs, and in many cases lending the sneeze further momentum towards the blesser and others in the vicinity."
Further studies are required to fully confirm the findings, but the message is clear: stop saying "Bless You!" and keep yourself to yourself.