Researchers filmed sneezes and then played the videos in slow-mo to study the fluid dispersion.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to the latest MIT study, sneezing is nastier than you thought. Researchers from the renowned university filmed more than 100 sneezing people and then watched the videos on slow motion. The results? Sneezing is nastier than you thought.
A team of MIT researchers filmed more than 100 sneezing people with high-quality cameras and then replayed the videos in slow-motion. The results of their research were that sneezing is actually way grosser than people thought it is.
Popular belief is that sneezing produces a spray of tiny droplets of mucus, something similar to a spraying a can. But the researchers from MIT busted that myth. It seems that when a person sneezes, the matter that is expelled is in the form of fluid fragments. The image is similar to how paint looks when you throw it from your brush and towards a wall.
The MIT’s head of Disease Transmission and Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, assistant professor Lydia Bourouiba, was the lead researcher of the study. She says that the purpose of the research was to determine how big the droplets of mucus emitted by a sneezing person are.
According to Bourouiba, the first study used healthy patients and determined that the emissions were rather similar for everybody.
It seems that the sneezes vary slightly from person to person and the transformations that affect the fluid after it exists the person’s mouth are dependent on the elasticity of the individual’s saliva. Thus, a normal sneeze ejects the material that firstly takes the shape of small filaments than morph into droplets.
The saliva droplets can either remain suspended in the surrounding environment or they fall to the floor. If the sneezing individual has a more elastic saliva, the sneeze will remain longer in filament form.
Bourouiba and her team documented the dispersion patterns of different sneezes in order to better understand how certain diseases spread. According to a person’s saliva elasticity, or fluid intake, that certain individual could be categorized as a “super spreader”.
The MIT team of researchers will continue with their research, but they will shift their focus on infected individuals. This way they will be able to see if there are any differences between the sneezes.
The images from the study clearly show that sneezing is nastier than you thought, but the brave, iron-stomach people from MIT will use their researcher to better assess the spread of an infectious disease.
Bourouiba said that after watching so many videos and images, she only focuses on the analyses of the fluid’s mechanics and she simply forgets that she is analyzing mucus and saliva.
Image source: www.wikimedia.org