When you get stuck with a cold or the flu, sneezes are inevitable. But have you ever wondered how far your sneezes travel? As it turns out, your sneeze may go a lot further than you think.
With each sneeze, your lungs may expel up to one full water bottle worth of mucus into the air around you. When the moist air leaves your mouth, it’s traveling at up to 35 meters per second. Researchers have found that the largest mucus droplets go up to two meters away, while the smaller ones keep riding the turbulent cloud until they’re more than 8 meters away.
If you work in an office building, one sneeze can travel more than eight desks away from you. But even worse, those mucus clouds can be sucked up by air vents and spat out in other parts of a building where your germs can incubate on commonly-touched surfaces like doorknobs and handrails. There, strains of the flu virus can survive for up to 24 hours.
So while a small sneeze might seem like nothing more than a minor inconvenience to you, keep in mind that your germs will spread quickly and may get many other people sick.