Science Reveals How Far Your Germs Travel Every Time You Sneeze

As if you needed any more reasons to not fly on an airplane these days, a video showing exactly how potentially SARS/measles/cooties-infected sneeze particles travel everywhere inside a plane is making the internet rounds.

Using what Popular Science calls “computational fluid dynamics” (sounds believable since I don’t know what the fuck it means), the computer-generated video from simulation software company ANSYS traces how germ-y, disease and virus-ridden sneeze particles spread virtually everywhere in an enclosed space packed with hundreds of people who are trapped thousands of feet up in the air. I’m feeling sick already.

Robert Harwood, aerospace and defense industry director for ANSYS, told PS:

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“Those droplets get picked up by the airflow and get transplanted all over the cabin. They actually spread quite far.”

Since the SARS outbreak over a decade ago, Harwood says the Federal Aviation Administration has looked to simulation technology to curb outbreaks and build more efficient planes:

“With traditional engineering, you come up with an idea, build a model or prototype, test it, and modify it until you get the product you want. The business we’re in, before you cut metal, you use computers to simulate the physical behavior of that product to cut down on modifications.”

… Right, so how about a simulation video showing how I can get away with wearing a hazmat suit on board a plane?

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Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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