How far do coughs and sneezes travel?

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases, and you’ll definitely want to cover your mouth after reading this.

20th August 2016
How far do coughs and sneezes travel? (iStock)

Asked by: Charlie Mack, Uckfield

Given the number of infections that can travel through the air, it’s horrible when someone coughs over us. But according to research by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it’s not just the person next to us we should worry about: coughing spreads droplets as far as six metres, and sneezing as much as eight metres. These droplets stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes. 

 


Get more fascinating Q&As from BBC Focus magazine by following @sciencefocusQA

You are currently reading: How far do coughs and sneezes travel? - 20th August