A Single Cough Can Spray 3,000 Invisible Droplets, Which Will Remain Suspended in Air for Hours

Here's another good reason to cover your mouth and always have a disinfectant sprayer: Invisible microdroplets could be hanging around in the air or on surfaces.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information or NCBI, a droplet larger than five micrometers will simply fall on a surface and could transmit diseases when touched. However, microdroplets or those smaller than five micrometers can remain suspended in the air for significant periods of time.

To give you an idea of how small a microdroplet is, consider a strand of hair on your head. A single strand of hair is 100 to 150 micrometers in diameter. A microdroplet from a cough is smaller than five micrometers. And a single cough can produce thousands and thousands of these microdroplets, which you can inhale.

If a cough can produce at least 3,000 invisible microdroplets suspended in the air for hours, imagine what a sneeze can do, which is more forceful than a cough. According to the NCBI, a single sneeze can produce 40,000 invisible microdroplets, which spread through the air quickly and remain suspended for hours.

These facts simply underline the importance of wearing masks, even when you are not sick or when you don’t have symptoms of COVID-19. Frequent handwashing and disinfecting will also minimize your risk of being infected.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of SPIN.ph as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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