As if air travel over the busy holiday periods could possibly get any worse, there is now a simulation showing exactly what happens when someone sneezes on a plane. Spoiler alert: it’s disgusting.
Researchers at the FAA Center of Excellence at Purdue University created a simulation of a sneezing passenger to show “the mechanics of pathogen travel in airplane cabins.” In other words, they’re showing just how many people can be affected—or infected, rather—when just one sick person fails to cover their mouth.
As it turns out, the enclosed airplane and recycled air in the ventilation system create a perfect storm when met with a sick passenger. According to the simulation, even those sitting relatively far away from the infected person have a high probability of getting sick.
Though there is talk of developing technologies to better purify and disperse air on planes, the only answer now is to be polite if you’re sick and cover up when you sneeze. Meanwhile the rest of us will be stocking up on Airborne and Emergen-C.