Cover Your Mouth! Study Finds One Sneeze Can Give Cold to 150 People
Public transportation can really stink sometimes. All those coughing, sniffling and sneezing people. Well now a new study says that one sneeze can give up to 150 people a cold in just five minutes.
Researchers found that germs can spread very quickly and that within seconds are being passed on through handrails or seats in places where many people are likely to be around.
“We can't totally avoid germs but we can do a lot to stop them spreading, especially when you're on a crowded commuter train,” said Hanna Nowak of Lemsip Max All In One, the company that commissioned the study. “Think of others before you sneeze without a tissue, otherwise in just five minutes you may have infected other commuters and won't be the only one feeling poorly.”
The researchers surveyed 1,300 working people who suffered at least one cold last winter. They say that one sneeze expels 100,000 droplets into the air at 90 mph, and those stray droplets are easily transferred to railings, handles and other places constantly touched by people.
The results of their study say that up to ten percent of all commuters will come into contact with an infected area by a person that just sneezed. During rush hour, this equals roughly about 150 people.
Researchers also found that 20 percent of regular commuters are irritated by people sneezing without using a tissue, and 33 percent get angry by those that don’t cover their mouth while coughing. Constant sniffling annoys 12 percent of the people, while throat clearing only bothers about 3 percent. Men are also more likely to be at fault than women because while 81 percent of women carry a tissue with them, one in three men don’t carry anything at all.
So the next time you are on a mode of public transportation, think about the person sitting closely next to you and if they sneezed, how much of their spit and saliva would land on your arm.
Maybe you should carry extra tissues or napkins and pass them around if needed.