Sneeze will travel 25 ft, with a mask up to 3 ft
December 01, 2020  11:58
Tired of sitting home and waiting for the pandemic to end, you spent your weekend eating out at a buffet in a restaurant? Be cautious and remember, the pandemic has not ended and we need to persist with the mask and distancing measures till we get vaccinated. 

Highlighting the importance of distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19, a new study at IIT Bhubaneswar has found that small droplets released during a sneeze can travel up to 25 feet without protective measures like a face mask and tiny particles can also escape through such gears. The study said protective measures like face mask and face shield effectively reduce the leakage and reach of the sneeze within 1ft3ft. However, they do not completely stop the leakage of smaller droplets, it said.

Hence social distancing is equally important. The study recommends using the elbow or hand to prevent droplets leakage even after wearing a mask during coughing and sneezing, IIT Bhubaneswar said in a statement.

Noting that controlling the virus from spreading has been a major challenge, it said the study was conducted on the efficacy of various non-standard and standard face masks under the act of sneezing. 

The study, conducted by Dr Venugopal Arumuru, Assistant Professor, School of Mechanical Science (SMS), and his team, confirmed that without protectives measures like a face mask, the smaller droplets expelled during a sneeze can travel up to 25ft in a stagnant environment. It confirms and also recommends a social distancing of 6ft from all orientations to prevent transmission of COVID- 19. 

"In the COVID-19 scenario, the present study will improve the understanding of smaller droplets/particles dynamics in turbulent flows, which causes transmission of the virus. These visualisation results will bring awareness to wear a mask and maintain social distancing for the general public," it said.
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