BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Whether you’re sick or you just want to clean the old windpipe, sneezing the best way to do it. While most researchers agree that the sneeze is our body’s way of expelling dust or other types of particles from our windpipe or nasal cavity, some are inclined to think that sneezing is a great way of releasing tension. Here are some of the mechanics behind the harmless sneeze.
As stated, the common sneeze can be interpreted in many different ways. Usually, this is our body’s reaction towards unwanted particles that get lodged in our nose and windpipe. However, there are those who connect sneezes to an intricate stress relief mechanism. Whatever the case maybe, as benign as would seem, a sneeze can be also considered as the best way for germs to get around.
Remember how you used to frown when someone had the gall of not covering his mouth before sneezing? Well, it seems that this attitude is not only offensive in terms of manners, but it can also take its toll on your health.
In order to see the full mechanism in motion, a team of scientists from MIT, led by Lydia Bourouiba set a little lab experiment in order to see what happens when someone sneezes. Using 2 high-speed cameras and approximately 100 fit volunteers, the team of scientists managed to reconstruct the whole sneezing process.
According to the footage captured by the two cameras, when a person sneezes, he or she releases into the air a stream of fluid, in the form of bubbles. After the stream is released, the bubbles containing saliva transform into filaments, which, in time, begin to destabilize. After the long, saliva-bearing filaments begin to break down, they begin to transform into a spray of droplets, which disperse in time.
Although most of us think nothing of the common sneeze, the team’s experiment proved that it is more behind a sneeze than meets the eye. The paper about the mechanics behind the harmless sneeze states that it takes no more than a fraction of a second for the fluid to be expelled. And they’ve also managed to determine that the more elastic the expelled fluid is, the more the saliva filaments will last into the air before transforming into droplets.
Doctor Bouroiba, the head of the research project declared that the dispersion model could help scientists to determine how a sneeze is capable of disseminating a pathogen into the air and what steps can be taken in order to prevent a full-fledged outbreak.