Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
A US study led by Indian-origin researchers found that respiratory droplets from cough or sneeze travel farther and last longer in humid, cold climates than in hot and dry ones.
The research team developed this new model to better understand the role that droplet clouds play in the spread of respiratory viruses, the study, published in the journal Physics of Fluids.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
Their model is the first to be based on a fundamental approach taken to study chemical reactions called collision rate theory, which looks at the interaction and collision rates of a droplet cloud exhaled by an infected person with healthy people.
Their work connects population-scale human interaction with their micro-scale droplet physics results on how far and fast droplets spread, and how long they last.
“The basic fundamental form of a chemical reaction is two molecules are colliding. How frequently they’re colliding will give you how fast the reaction progresses,” said study author Abhishek Saha from the University of California in the US.
“It’s exactly the same here; how frequently healthy people are coming in contact with an infected droplet cloud can be a measure of how fast the disease can spread,” Saha added.
They found that, depending on weather conditions, some respiratory droplets travel between eight feet and 13 feet away from their source before evaporating, without even accounting for wind.
This means that without masks, six feet of social distance may not be enough to keep one person’s exhaled particles from reaching someone else.
“Droplet physics are significantly dependent on weather. If you’re in a colder, humid climate, droplets from a sneeze or cough are going to last longer and spread farther than if you’re in a hot dry climate, where they’ll get evaporated faster,” Saha said.
“We incorporated these parameters into our model of infection spread; they aren’t included in existing models as far as we can tell,” he noted.
The researchers hope that their more detailed model for the rate of infection spread and droplet spread will help inform public health policies at a more local level, and can be used in the future to better understand the role of environmental factors in virus spread. (IANS)
Social isolation is linked to a heightened risk of hospital admission for respiratory disease among older adults, say researchers, adding that this risk is independent of other potentially influential factors, such as general health and lifestyle.
According to the study, published in the journal Thorax, social isolation and loneliness are associated with admission to hospital for various health conditions, but it’s not clear if socially isolated adults with respiratory conditions might also be at risk.
To explore this further, the researchers at University College London in the UK linked up hospital records and death statistics for 4,478 people taking part in the English Longitudinal Study on Ageing (ELSA), a nationally representative long term study of older adults.
Social isolation was measured in terms of whether that person lived alone or not (domestic isolation); how much social contact they had with friends and family (social isolation); and how much social engagement they had, including with volunteering, cultural activities, and involvement with community groups.
Please follow NewsGram on Instagram to get updates on the latest news
Information on potentially influential factors such as underlying health conditions, smoking and physical activity levels was also gathered.
After taking account of potentially influential factors, loneliness and levels of social contact with friends and family weren’t associated with a heightened risk of admission.
But living alone and poor social engagement were associated with, respectively, heightened risks of 32 per cent and 24 per cent, the study said.
In a bid to explain the associations they found, the researchers said that people who are socially isolated may be more physically inactive and smoke more, and less likely to be prompted to see a doctor when symptoms first appear.
“Older adults living alone with existing lung conditions may benefit from additional targeted community support to try and reduce the risk of hospital admissions,” the researchers suggested.
“The roll-out of social prescribing schemes may present opportunities for referring those individuals to social engagement community activities,” they concluded. (IANS)