Health

How a Sneeze Spreads Germs Inside an Airplane (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Do you ever worry about catching something when a fellow passenger sneezes inside an airplane?

The FAA Center of Excellence at Purdue University created an animated simulation video (below) with ANSYS software of a sneezing passenger to study how germs spread inside airliners.

ANSYS.com notes that the ventilated air inside the airplane actually helps spread germs (colored particles in the video) to a large number of passengers.

"The particles are colored to show you where the stuff goes," Robert Harwood, aerospace and defense industry director for ANSYS, told Popular Science. "Those droplets get picked up by the airflow and get transplanted all over the cabin. They actually spread quite far."

The animated sneezer in the video did not cover his mouth and nose, which is one simple action every passenger can take. The FAA Center of Excellence is trying to come up with new ideas to help limit the spread of disease in commercial airliners.

While Ebola has sent much of the U.S. into hysteria, it's estimated that thousands of Americans die from flu-related conditions every year, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Amazingly, states are not required to report the flu-related deaths of people over 18 years old, but the CDC bases its numbers on a study that estimates between 3,000 and 49,000 people died in 2006-2007 of flu-related conditions.

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Sources: ANSYS.com, Popular Science, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention