By Eddy Montilla.
When you are about to sneeze, you breathe deeply, your body is full of air, pressure increases and the air is forced to come out through your nose and mouth at an incredible speed. How fast? Well, if we could throw a baseball at the same speed as we sneeze (100 miles or 160 kilometers per hour), we would have a millionaire contract as a pitcher in major league. As for the explosive sound we hear when sneezing, it is the result of the significant amount of air coming out of our relatively small mouth and nostrils. The intensity and onomatopoeia of a sneeze are both variable things. For example, in Japan people usually say “ハクション” (hakushon) when they sneeze while in many countries in Latin American people say “achís”, “atchoo” in USA and so on.
As for the distance, every time you sneeze, what is coming out of your mouth and nose is not a bouquet of flowers, but thousands of germs that travel between 3 and 5 feet because of the force and speed that the mucus particles travel with when they move out of your body. If possible, use a mask or a handkerchief to protect other people around you, and in case of you do not have time to get your handkerchief out of your pocket (or you don’t have any), use your sleeves rather than your hands since you can infect many things after touching them with your hands.
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