It appears that sneezing is even more disgusting than you thought, thanks to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The scientists have proven that when we sneeze we also launch a spray of fluids all around the place.
MIT Laboratory of Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission leader Lydia Bourouiba has stated that by understanding the ways in which those sprays are dispersed, scientists will be able to get a better insight on the matter of spreading infections. Furthermore, the study might also help classify people who are capable of spreading larger levels of infection and those who are not.
The study involved recording more than one hundred sneezes from three healthy patients with two cameras with high speed. The individuals were positioned in front of a black background in order to make the fluids more visible. The two monochrome cameras were focused on the mouths of the participants who were tickled by the scientists in order to sneeze. The scientists managed to capture the exact moment when the fluids were flying through the air and thus noticed that each sneeze produced the same fluid pattern.
As the fluid was propelled from the nose it became like a sheet that ballooned. Next, the patch of fluid burst into smaller filaments that divided into droplets which spread everywhere in front of the individual.
It seems the difference between the sneezes is in the type of saliva. The more elastic the saliva of the person is, the longer the fluid filaments are. However, there was one thing that scientists did not expect: the filaments turning to droplets. It was previously believed that those droplets were already inside the respiratory tract, and not forming after leaving the nose.
This discovery can also help scientists in understanding violent expirations, but also the spread of viral infections. Bourouiba and her team are currently creating a new MIT laboratory that will allow them to test and analyze disease transmission patterns. She has declared that they are planning to focus on influenza and the common cold, since their symptoms can be difficult to distinguish. Those diseases change every year and thus millions of people are affected because their bodies are not accustomed to the modified viruses.
Sneezing is even more disgusting than you thought, but also more dangerous. The new findings will surely help us better understand how we can limit the spread of various diseases.
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