The next time you have to sneeze, you better make d*mn sure that you bury it in your elbow.
Researchers at Massachusettes Institute of Technology (MIT) used a high-speed camera to catch these freeze frames of sneezes from 100 different sneezes.(To do this, they actually “tickled” the three subjects’ noses!)
Astoundingly, the researchers found that a typical sneeze can exit the mouth at a violent 100 miles per hour and last for one-fifth of a second. Your eyes can’t even register the ejection until it is very far away from you (and hopefully not splattered on someone else).
The researchers found that our sneezes form the shape of a balloon and then disperse into tiny fragments before hitting their target similar to paint that is flung through the air, according to an MIT release.
The study, published in the journal Experiments in Fluids, was conducted to better understand “downstream range of contamination—”science-talk for how humans contribute to the spread of infections in the environment, such as colds or the flu. “Sometimes the symptoms are difficult to distinguish. In the coming year, at different cold and influenza seasons, we will be recruiting human subjects whom we can work with to see them in infection and in health,” said study author Lydia Bourouiba, the Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and head of the Fluid Dynamics of Disease Transmission Laboratory at MIT.
The ultimate goal: To help predict and prevent diseases like the cold and flu from spreading.