As much as we want to avoid getting sick this winter, the major cause of the spreading illness is other people! As we discussed in our blog on ‘What is the Winter Flu’, the flu virus is present in the nose and mouth on an infected person so transmission can occur by cough, sneeze and then touching objects around the home or office.
But what if the hand did not catch that sneeze? How far would those particles travel? When you think about it, you can see the spray spread when someone does not get their hand up in time.
Sneeze particles and their range
The droplets ejected at high speed from a cough or sneeze vary in size from a few thousandths of a millimetre to a couple of millimetres. The larger ones fall within a metre or so, but many are small enough to float through the air around you to be breathed in by other people.
- The UK NHS says the droplets “typically spread about one metre”;
- The US CDC says about two metres;
- Research done at MIT in a lab using high speed cameras and mathematical modelling found that particles travel 5–200 times further than previously thought — the smallest particles act like a cloud and can travel tens of metres and even float up to the ceiling and into office air conditioning systems.
Watch this disturbing high-speed camera video of someone sneezing, made by the research group of Prof Lydia Bourouiba at MIT.
Read our post on How to Prevent the Winter Flu.
Initial Hand sanitisers are an efficient way to provide germ busting relief to sneezy hands, and having these throughout a workplace can reduce the risk of lost work time due to employee absenteeism. Find out more about our Initial Washrooms Hand Care Range online.