How Far Do Airborne Pathogens Travel?

By: Surgically Clean Air

Coughing is Bad Traveling upwards of 200 mph or 320 km/h, and accelerating in a matter of seconds, germs from a cough or sneeze can travel a great distance very quickly. Indoor airborne pathogens travel as fast as an exotic sports car, and can be very dangerous to your health. 

Coughing Is Bad

The average human cough would fill about three-quarters of a large soda-pop bottle with air – air that shoots out of the lungs in a jet stream several feet or metres long. Coughs also force out thousands of tiny droplets of saliva. About 3,000 droplets are expelled in a single cough, and they fly out of the mouth at 50 mph or 80 km/h

Sneezing is Even Worse

It starts at the back of the throat and produces even more droplets — as many as 40,000 — some of which rocket out at speeds greater than 200 mph or 320 km/h. The vast majority of the droplets are less than 100 microns across — the width of a human hair. Many of them are so tiny that they cannot be seen with the naked eye, and they can travel a long way, often in excess of 160 ft or 45M. 

What You Can’t See from a Cough or Sneeze Can be Even Worse for Your Health 

Unlike a fast moving sports car, you can’t see germs coming towards you, which makes them really dangerous. “When you cough or sneeze, you may see the large droplets, or feel them if someone sneezes on you,” says a professor of applied mathematics at MIT. “But you don’t see the cloud, the invisible gas phase. The influence of this gas cloud is to extend the range of the individual droplets, particularly the small ones.” The small droplet nuclei can travel up to 160 feet or 45 metres from one cough or sneeze. 

Germs Can Get You Even When Someone Coughs On a Different Floor Than You Are On

The velocity behind germs being expelled from a person contribute to how far airborne pathogens travel as well as air current, heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, movement within the room by individuals, temperature and humidity. It is surprising to note some airborne pathogens travel great distances within buildings through HVAC systems. Penn State indicated in their study with Tuberculosis microbes that within a 10 story building during an 8 hour period, malignant microbes had traveled from the 1st floor of a building to the 10th floor through the HVAC system.  

So protect yourself and those around you with a medical grade air purifier that takes germs, viruses and other harmful airborne particulate out of your indoor air.

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