Singapore researchers have embarked on a new study to determine how airborne transmission of flu virus occurs by examining the distance a cough or sneeze travels and the volume of air and viruses packed into it. Reuters reports:
Using volunteers, [Julian Tang, a virologist and consultant with Singapore’s National University Hospital] and his colleagues will study the velocity and distance of exhaled airflows, or plumes, produced by coughs and sneezes, and even laughing, crying, singing, whistling, talking, snoring and breathing … They will evaluate interventions such as coughing into a loosely clenched fist, a tissue and different types of face masks to see how effective they are in containing airflows.
This 2009 Centers For Disease Control photo shows the plume of salivary droplets expelled during one man’s sneeze and illustrates the reason why experts advise to cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow rather than your hands.
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