If you don’t cover your mouth when you sneeze, that sneeze and the germs within it are explosively set free into the surrounding area. But where do the droplets travel and how far can they reach? No one had done much research into the physics of sneezes and coughs…

To address this knowledge gap, Lydia Bourouiba and John Bush of MIT’s Applied Mathematics Lab used high speed cameras and fluid mechanics to reveal why we’ve grossly underestimated the role of gas clouds in these violent expirations.

From Science Friday, this is really Nothing to Sneeze At.

Follow that video with this Schlieren imaging clip of a man breathing and coughing…

In the archives: Catching Up with the Flu, How A Virus Invades Your Body, and more Schlieren imaging in What Does Sound Look Like?

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