How fast does a sneeze travel and how far can it go? | Tech US News


According to research by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a sneeze can launch germs more than 6 feet.

Depending on the temperature and humidity, a sneeze can travel about 27 feet or 8 meters. Warmer, more humid environments can stop the respiratory drops in the air for longer. Smaller droplets can also stay in the air for longer periods, while large droplets fall more quickly to the ground after a sneeze.

Lydia Bourouibaa fluid dynamics scientist at MIT, spent the last few years studying the distance traveled by the expulsions of the human body, using high-speed cameras and light.

Slowed down to 2,000 frames per second, the video and images from Bourbouiba’s lab show that a fine mist of mucus and saliva can flow from a person’s mouth around. one hundred kilometers per hour.

Bourouiba also discovered that the the sneeze produces a cloud of hot, moist gaswhich helps the expelled respiratory particles prevent evaporation for longer. Ventilation systems or airflow in any space can help sneezes travel farther. Turbulence within a cloud of ejected gas can also affect how far a sneeze will fly.

Understand the spread of the virus

Understand how these clouds travel and disperse crucial to contain an infectious respiratory disease like covid-19.

Bourouiba research emphasizes an ongoing scientific debate about how the new the coronavirus makes its way through the air, suggesting such air transfer may be more likely than was thought

Guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it does not take fluid dynamics into accountas he recommends that people stay at least six feet apart from each other Bourouiba and his colleagues recorded a drop from a sneeze that travels more than four times that distance. Although sneezing is not a common symptom of the coronavirus, an asymptomatic person with a random sneeze could still spread the germsays Bourouiba.

“That has implications for how many people can you put in a space”, says Bourouiba. “It has implications for how to handle teamwork and meetingsespecially if the airflow is not changed regularly.”


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