IT’S BEEN proved that wearing a mask in crowded spaces indoors is beneficial. But new scientific evidence shows it also makes sense to keep one on outdoors when it’s windy as the risk of transmission increases.
The study, published in the journal Physics of Fluids, found when a person coughs outdoors in the same direction as the wind, COVID-19, cold and other viruses can spread faster even over longer distances. “The study highlights increased chances of infection in the presence of even a light breeze,” said Amit Agrawal of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
“Based on the results, we recommend wearing masks outdoors, particularly in breezy conditions,” he added.
Simulations in the study showed that depending on cough strength, even a light breeze increases the distance necessary for effective social distancing by around 20 per cent.
This means the required distance should increase from 3ft-6ft to 3.6ft-7.2ft to protect you.
When the wind is stronger, the possibility of spreading the virus expands by more than a third.
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Apart from wearing masks, the scientists recommend following other guidelines, including coughing in an elbow and turning the face away while coughing to reduce the risk of transmission.
The researchers used a large eddy simulation that imitates turbulence to mimic cough.
They tested the cough jets in both breezy and calm conditions trying to represent a typical indoor environment.
Most studies typically imitate cough flow by using puffs of air or a pulsating profile.
However, a real cough is more complicated than that.
Based on this evidence, wearing a mask was beneficial in order to protect from airborne viruses when socialising in crowded spaces outdoors.
“The study is significant in that it points to the increased infection risk that coughing in the same direction as the wind could bring about,” said Agrawal.
If you feel ill and display any Covid symptoms, take a PCR test to confirm whether you have coronavirus.
Don’t forget to isolate until you receive a negative result.
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of COVID-19 include:high temperaturea new, continuous cougha loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
To protect yourself from COVID-19 and cold remember to wash your hands with water and soap, use tissues when you cough and sneeze, and don’t forget to bin these promptly.
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