Tag Archives: flu

Sneeze and risk infecting the entire room for hours

If everyone you know is coming down with a cold and flu then a big culprit to the spread of these germs and viruses is sneezing! We all know that coughing and sneezing can spread colds. However, scientists have discovered that the sneeze from a flu sufferer can lead to the virus not only infecting an entire room but also being contagious for several hours.

This finding gives further evidence to the theory that going into your doctor’s waiting room could lead to you coming out worse than when you entered. The concentrations of germs expelled into the air are large enough so that when breathed in up to over an hour after they were first expelled you can catch the illness. It also highlights why you are more likely to pick up an illness at the start of your holiday after sharing a long plane journey with other people who are ill.

The photo below, caught on a high speed camera gives a visual reminder of just how easily a virus can be spread. Stopping the spread of germs through a sneeze is simply a case of educating people to cover and catch those germs before they are thrown out into the air everyone else in the room is breathing!

Other studies have tended to concentrate on the larger droplets that are expelled and drop to the floor or a surface very quickly. However, this study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface was focussing on the smaller airborne droplets that it found can stay in the air for many hours or even days.

Dr Linsey Marr led the group of researchers from Virgina Tech in the U.S. who took air samples from three cross-country plane journeys, three nurseries and a healthcare clinic’s waiting room. From the samples, droplets of the flu virus were found in half of the cases. The researchers found that a typical cubic metre of air carried in it about 16,000 particles of flu virus. Dr Linsey Marr said, ‘Given these concentrations, the amount of viruses a person would inhale over one hour would be ­adequate to induce infection.’

He also noted that the ventilation systems in most offices will help to remove and circulate the contaminated air fairly quickly. Typically, a sneeze can expel about 40,000 droplets across a room at speeds of more than 100mph. Make sure you cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing so that you don’t spread your illness further.

Health Tips: Combat a cold!

As autumn quickly begins to feel like winter, a snuffly nose is almost inevitable for many of us. Although your healthy living can be sustained by maintaining vitamin levels, wrapping up warm and getting plenty of sleep, what exactly can we do to reduce the risk of catching a cold?

Wrap up warm this winter!

Wrap up warm this winter!

How do colds and viruses spread?

Not known by many, the most common way of catching a cold is by touching your face, nose or eyes. When coughing or sneezing up to 40000 infected droplets can attach themselves to surfaces, door handles and even light switches, surviving for up to 3 hours. The next person to come along and touch the surface takes the virus with them, unknowingly touching their face or nose, allowing the virus to enter the nasal cavity and start the process of catching a cold.  Remember, you’re more likely to catch a cold from someone by simply shaking their hand!

Boost your defences!

As mentioned above, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet in order to keep your immune system running smoothly, ensuring it has everything it needs to ward off any unwelcome visitors.

  • Try to get a good nights sleep and maintain a regular sleeping pattern – This helps to keep your energy levels high and stress levels low.
  • Avoid touching your face and nose (although you may do it without even thinking) and wash your hands regularly, especially after being out of the house.
  • If you travel via public transport, wear gloves to help protect yourself from contaminated surfaces.
  • When you feel the need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue and dispose of it straight away.
  • If you find yourself tissue-less, use the crook of your arm and not your hands, preventing any further surface contamination.
  • Avoid wet hair and wet clothes at all costs – We don’t need to tell you why!
Eat plenty of fruit and veg! Your body will thank you for it!

Eat plenty of fruit and veg! Your body will thank you for it!

Why do colds run wild in winter?

A recent theory from one Professor Eccles suggests that because we have colder noses, we reduce our levels of resistance to infection. “Every time we breathe in cold air we cool the nasal lining, and viruses multiply and breed faster when cells are cool. We wrap up our bodies to keep warm but our noses are often exposed to the bitter cold – covering your nose with a scarf could prevent colds.”

Let’s face it – I’m going to catch a cold

It’s not the best attitude to have, but you can always benefit by being prepared for the inevitable. Studies have shown that the common cold is not as contagious as you may think, when compared to the flu virus. The symptoms of a cold tend to occur around 2 days after being infected.  These early symptoms including coughing, sneezing and a runny nose – A time at which you are most likely to infect others.

Keep warm, get plenty of rest and ensure that you are hydrated well. Typically colds last between 5 – 7 days so the inconvenience doesn’t last forever. Eating spicy foods is know to help that “bunged up” feeling, whilst medication can temporarily relieve minor headaches and pains. It is a viral infection, so there is no “instant cure” available at present.

“Ride the wave” and you’ll be back to healthy living in no time. Do you have any “feel better” tips for all the cold sufferers out there?