Photo by Dmitry Ermakov on Unsplash

Have you been wondering just how a virus can be transmitted through thin air?

What’s involved? Does it sprout wings and fly? Does it look like the Death Star or shoot arrows at you?

I mean, if you don’t spit (or in an utterly graceless moment, laugh and spray your drink), then how does it travel through the air?

I saw such a thing happen once and it was an OMG moment. I knew that sneezes sprayed droplets, but I never had the visual. Being extremely visually-oriented, I really need visuals. Now I’m convinced because...

I was sitting on the balcony at Grassburger in Durango CO (eating a juicy lettuce-wrapped hamburger with succulent sweet potato fries) one delightful day a couple of summers ago when I saw someone in the parking lot sneeze.

She was backlit by the sun, so I saw the sneeze light up like tiny LED twinkle lights. Droplets hung glowing in the air in a nimbus around her head for a few minutes.

Lab video shows in vivid color how a virus spreads through the air

Curious people. Engineers in a lab at Florida Atlantic University[1] simulated a human cough to understand how far and fast cough droplets can spread.

12 feet. That’s how far spray from a cough can go in just a few seconds. What about a sneeze? Sneezes seem to have a lot more force than a regular cough. Yikes!

This short video of the cough test shows that 6 feet is not far enough to stay out of the range of a cough and worse, shows that the droplets stay in the air for up to 3 minutes. Even wearing a mask allows droplets to spray out the sides.

A virus can hang out in the air for 3 long minutes…

This means that somebody can cough or sneeze and 3 minutes later someone walking through that space will breathe the droplets, and worse, may have the misfortune to breathe infected droplets.

Imagine the cocktail of chemicals, bacteria and viruses you are breathing when you go into a store….

Minimal ways to stay healthy

Eat well and avoid foods that make you feel bad. Sleep 8 to 9 hours every night. Rest when needed. Exercise moderately several times weekly. Cut back on alcoholic beverages, soda pop, and added sugars.

Please wear your mask and use a hanky or sneeze/cough into your shirt. It’s not just about you: Wear a mask to protect the ones you love.

[1] Video retrieved from




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