Did you know that a violent sneeze can send clouds of flu viruses airborne? And did you also know that those clouds can travel up to eight meters (26.2 feet)? Fortunately, there are things you can do to stay well, from getting an air purifier to reduce cold and flu viruses in the air, to boosting your immune system by getting enough sleep.
How far can a sneeze travel?
A study by MIT researchers has shown that coughs and sneezes create gas clouds that keep their potentially infectious droplets aloft over much greater distances than previously known. Droplets 10 micrometers in diameter actually travel 200 times farther! And those virus-filled droplets can stay in the air for hours and the more stagnant your air is, the more likely diseases are to spread. Research shows that airflow and ventilation can help keep bacteria, viruses and other pollutants out of the air you breathe, dramatically affecting how diseases spread indoors.
Every year, millions of work and school days are lost because of colds and flu. In the United States, The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the annual direct costs (hospitalization, doctors' office visits, medications, etc.) of influenza at $4.6 billion (USD). The flu also results in the loss of more than 100 million workdays.
In Europe, one estimate has put the health cost of influenza across the EU at between €6 billion to €14 billion annually, depending on the severity of the season. The World Health Organization (WHO) says annual flu epidemics are thought to also result in about three and five million cases of severe illness every year around the world.
How to prevent a cold
More often than not, humans are the main source of infectious diseases. When the cold and flu season is in full swing, we need to use all the aids available to help prevent becoming infected, from boosting your immune systems to disinfecting surfaces to cleaning the air of airborne viruses. Here are a few tips to avoid colds and the flu.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Disinfect keyboards, phones, and surfaces regularly – after landing on a surface a virus can live another 24 hours.
- Get enough sleep, since sleep can boost your immune system.
- Avoid stress because stress can weaken your immune system defences.
- Keep rooms at home and work well ventilated.
- Use a high performing indoor air purifier.
Air purifiers for flu viruses
An air purifier can also make a big difference in flu prevention, especially during flu season, when all around you are putting flu virus into the air with their sneezes. Blueair purifiers are designed to remove virus and bacteria in addition to dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander and smoke.
For example, when the Blueair Classic family was tested by accredited CAS Test Technical Services, it removed 99.99% of H1N1 influenza, as well as more than 99.9% of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Aspergillus Niger.*
*Removal rate in 60 minutes according to GB18801-2015.