May 03, 2014

A Single Sneeze Can Spread Throughout Entire Building

MIT researchers using high-speed cameras and applying fluid dynamics have discovered that although ejected droplets from a sneeze typically fall to the ground, the "cloud" of moisture from a single sneeze actually floats and can enter ventilation ducts and can potentially spread throughout an entire building or airplane. Watch video below.

These findings have profound implications as to how infections may travel within buildings and other contained structures like cruise ships and airplanes.

So although most people cover their mouths when sneezing in public, it also needs to happen in private even when there's nobody around. Of course, more study is needed to see if the sneeze "cloud" is even minimized with mouth-covering.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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