Saturday, June 14, 2014


Waiting at the coffee shop stand in the lobby of the hospital, we are suddenly attacked. The woman waiting in line nearby coughs at me.
I had just come into the hospital lobby and I was ordering a danish pastry to help me through the morning. I had not yet put on my protective surgical mask.
I let her have it. "I'm a cancer patient. I don't need you to cough on me!"
She responds - as almost all those offenders do. I was "attacking" her. 
"I have asthma," she says with attitude, as if to say, it is fine if she coughs her asthma germs on me.
Professionals all through the hospital and CLSCs (Quebec Community Clinics) tell me they do not have - nor do they want - the responsibility to demand that people who cough must wear a mask. So I always ask them,
"If a patient came in here wielding a knife, what would you do?" 
"If I could, I would call Security".
"Well then, if someone is threatening my health with their germs, don't you have an obligation to protect me?"
They always have an excuse and act as if the victim who is demanding protection is the problem. What else is new? Always blame the victim.
Coughing or sneezing on others is
At least rude,
At most -
Your germs could kill.
Phyllis Carter
It is common knowledge that when we cough or sneeze, we should cover our mouth and nose with a tissue to prevent germs from becoming airborne. Now, new research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests this instruction is more important than ever;
They found that droplets from coughs or sneezes can travel up to 200 times farther than previously thought.
According to the research team, including John Bush, professor of applied mathematics at MIT, the droplets that are produced when we cough or sneeze are accompanied by "gas clouds" that enable the droplets to travel greater distances.
The study has recently been published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics.
To reach their findings, the researchers used a combination of high-speed imaging of coughs and sneezes, laboratory simulations and mathematical modeling. This allowed them to analyze the fluid mechanisms behind coughs and sneezes.
The team found that, contrary to previous beliefs, each droplet from a cough or sneeze is connected through interaction with a gas cloud.
Past research has suggested that larger drops of mucus travel farther than smaller drops because they have more strength behind them. However, the investigators of this most recent study found that when droplets merge with the gas cloud, their trajectory is altered.

"If you ignored the presence of the gas cloud, your first guess would be that larger drops go farther than the smaller ones, and travel at most a couple of meters," says Bush.
"But by elucidating the dynamics of the gas cloud, we have shown that there's a circulation within the cloud - the smaller drops can be swept around and resuspended by the eddies within a cloud, and so settle more slowly.
Basically, small drops can be carried a great distance by this gas cloud while the larger drops fall out. So you have a reversal in the dependence of range on size."
Coughing in your hands is stupid. It just provides another way to transfer your poison to everything you touch.
Coughing in your sleeve is ridiculous. The germs fly off in all directions.
This is the simple, responsible way to behave.
Hospitals and CLSC's provide surgical masks free. Just take one on entering the hospital and use it. It doesn't hurt at all. 
If you come from overseas and are not familiar with our customs, trust me on this. People live longer in Canada because of our health care system, our hygiene, and the way we value human life.
You do not have the right to attack others with your illness.

No comments: