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Sneezing may produce as many as 40,000 droplets. That’s according to research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

“Sneezing may produce as many as 40,000 droplets.” — National Center for Biotechnology Information

Now, a new video not only sheds light on that but shows it off in stunning slow-motion video out of Japan. The researchers did this in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in hope of learning more about how diseases spread person to person.

The video also demonstrates how sneezing is among several sources of the droplets.

NHK WORLD-JAPAN Video

An NHK experiment found that microdroplets emitted while sneezing and coughing and during conversations stay in the air for longer than normal droplets, potentially posing a uniquely dangerous risk for coronavirus infection.

Just a warning, some of the video is a little difficult to watch.

Watch the video on YouTube at this link.

The video shows how microdroplets hang in the air for quite some time. Even talking loudly can create these droplets allowing others to inhale them and help spread the virus.

Just Normal Conversation Creates Droplets in the Air

Tracking particles in the air using laser beams, the team in Japan shows just how many droplets there are in the air.

As can be seen in a simple conversation between two people, the droplets are noticeable and can spread person to person.

Just a normal conversation creates droplets – Courtesy NHK World News

Opening Windows Can Protect You: NHK Documentary

The documentary shows that opening up windows can greatly reduce the microdroplets in the room.

Image from Documentary shows man cough, then 20 minutes later droplets remain in the room – Courtesy NHK

Part of the video demonstrates what happens to the droplets when a little bit of airflow is introduced into a small setting. Those window openings help to sweep away the particles floating in air.

The whole documentary is just over an hour long and can be seen by clicking here.

Research in the United States

The National Center for Biotechnology Information wrote a report on ‘”respiratory droplets.” These studies and reviews note that the size of droplet nuclei due to sneezing, coughing, and talking is likely to be a function of the generation process and the environmental conditions.

MIT researchers showed in a 2016 study that as people sneeze, they launch a sheet of fluid that balloons, then breaks apart in long filaments that destabilize, and finally disperse as a spray of droplets — similar to paint that is flung through the air.

Using two high-speed cameras, the MIT researchers recorded more than 100 sneezes from healthy human subjects and captured the fraction of a second during which fluid is expelled from the mouth. Almost every sneeze produced the same paint-like pattern of fluid fragmentation, with slight variations: The more elastic the fluid, or saliva, the longer the fluid traveled before breaking into droplets.

 

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