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J R Soc Interface. 2013 Sep 11;10(88):20130560. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2013.0560. Print 2013 Nov 6.

Characterizations of particle size distribution of the droplets exhaled by sneeze.

Author information

1
Department of Engineering Physics, Institute of Public Safety Research, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

This work focuses on the size distribution of sneeze droplets exhaled immediately at mouth. Twenty healthy subjects participated in the experiment and 44 sneezes were measured by using a laser particle size analyser. Two types of distributions are observed: unimodal and bimodal. For each sneeze, the droplets exhaled at different time in the sneeze duration have the same distribution characteristics with good time stability. The volume-based size distributions of sneeze droplets can be represented by a lognormal distribution function, and the relationship between the distribution parameters and the physiological characteristics of the subjects are studied by using linear regression analysis. The geometric mean of the droplet size of all the subjects is 360.1 µm for unimodal distribution and 74.4 µm for bimodal distribution with geometric standard deviations of 1.5 and 1.7, respectively. For the two peaks of the bimodal distribution, the geometric mean (the geometric standard deviation) is 386.2 µm (1.8) for peak 1 and 72.0 µm (1.5) for peak 2. The influences of the measurement method, the limitations of the instrument, the evaporation effects of the droplets, the differences of biological dynamic mechanism and characteristics between sneeze and other respiratory activities are also discussed.

KEYWORDS:

airborne infection; infectious disease; size distribution; sneeze

PMID:
24026469
PMCID:
PMC3785820
DOI:
10.1098/rsif.2013.0560
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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