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Simulation shows how someone sneezing on a plane affects everyone around them

Simulation shows how someone sneezing on a plane affects everyone around them

It's a grim reminder about always using basic sneeze hygiene

A somewhat grim simulation shows how a single passenger sneezing onboard a flight sends tiny airborne particles flying towards dozens of other people.

Hopefully, by now, most of us known that when it comes to sneezing the most hygienic thing to do is to catch it in a tissue, throw the used tissue away and then wash your hands - but in case you needed a reminded of how gross poor sneezing etiquette can be, check this out:

Researchers from the FAA Center of Excellence at Purdue University created a simulation to show exactly how a sneeze travels inside an airplane cabin.

In the clip, an ‘infected passenger’ can be seen sat in the middle of a cabin surrounded by fellow travellers. When the person sneezes, the tiny droplets are first flung up, behind and either side of them before making their way forward.

The animation, which was made in conjunction with Ansys, was created in 2014 and shows how far germs can travel when in a pressurized cabin.

The particles will then be spread through all over the cabin, because of the way air circulates from the overhead fans to the lower vents, in order to keep the plane ventilated.

The simulation showed how far particles can travel.

Ansys explained in a blog: “It is the ventilated air that spreads the germs around the cabin. So even if the passengers immediately next to you aren’t sick, you can still pick up a bug.”

The clip also claimed those sitting adjacent and behind the person sneezing were most at risk of being infected by the sneeze particles.

Robert Harwood, director at Anysy told Popular Science, “The particles are colored to show you where the stuff goes.

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

One expert went on to say that they can actually travel up to 50ft away from the original sneezer.

These areas have the highest risk of infection.

Ian Henderson, professor of microbial biology at the University of Birmingham’s School of Immunity, told the Daily Mail at the time: “It’s true - if somebody sneezes and they’re infected with flu, they will expel viruses in the cabin.

“You can measure the dispersion of a sneeze up to 50ft. They really can spread a fair distance.

“Anyone who is sitting close to an infected person will come into contact with that pathogen.”

He added: “The principle applies to all forms of public transport.

“I remember reading a paper about someone sneezing at the back of a double-decker bus and you could find the microbes at the front.”

Featured Image Credit: @ansys / Youtube / Charles Stirling (Travel) / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Health, Travel