After Capturing Sneezing Moments, Sneeze into Your Elbow Comes as a Health Advice

After Capturing Sneezing Moments, Sneeze into Your Elbow Comes as a Health Advic

In a hope to understand the mechanism of sneeze, MIT's Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory carried out an experiment where volunteers participated in sneezing activity and their sneezing moments were captured through camera.

The researchers, through their research, wanted to find out how the infection carrying sneeze spreads diseases through environment. “It’s important to understand how the process of fluid breakup, or fluid fragmentation, happens, what is the physics of the breakup telling us in terms of droplet size distribution, and the resulting prediction of the downstream range of contamination”, said lead author of the study, Lydia Bourouiba.

Results of the study were published in the journal Experiments in Fluids, which revealed that sneeze is discharged in sheet rather than spray as thought before. After the finding, NSW Ministry of Health recommends people with infection to cover their nose and mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, which could be discarded straight after the use.

Most of the infections spread rapidly if such measures are not taken. People are advised to use their hands to cover mouth which is ineffective in stopping infection from spreading. So the health advocates advised people to sneeze into the crook of your elbow if one lacks a tissue or paper towel the moment. According to a non-scientific test done by Mythbusters back in 2010, sneezing into elbow can effectively prevent the fluids from spreading.

In 2014, the MIT researchers found that coughs and sneezes produce clouds of gas along with infectious droplets. These sneeze clouds can travel from five to 200 times farther than they would have if the droplets were simply a disconnected group.

Currently, the researchers are creating a new lab space with climate-controlled chambers. This time, they will experiment with unhealthy participants unlike earlier. They will study different types of sneezes and coughs to examine nature of the spread of transmission disease.

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