How long do cough droplets take to settle in a bathroom?

  • Thread starter new6ton
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In summary, if anyone coughs or sneezes into a bathroom and spreads virus/bacteria. Droplets from such coughing or sneezing will settle to the floor or wall within minutes. There is a standard calculation of it like based on velocity, weight, and ambient air in the bathroom, but it is pretty quick.
  • #1
new6ton
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If anyone coughs or sneezes into a bathroom and spreads virus/bacteria. How long before such droplets settle to the floor or wall. Is there a standard calculation of it like based on velocity, weight and ambient air in the bathroom?
 
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  • #2
It's pretty quick, just like if you used a spray bottle.

Why do you ask?
 
  • #3
berkeman said:
It's pretty quick, just like if you used a spray bottle.

Why do you ask?

Someone in the house has cough from ordinary colds (since 4 days ago). So whenever the person enters the bathroom. I was waiting how long to enter it and not sneeze in the droplets. Sometimes I just hold my breath.
 
  • #4
If someone has an active cold for 4 days, it is very likely not the common cold - first off Consider: Allergies, all kinds of other "cold" like virus diseases. Allergies no problem, I guess.

Anything else, WASH your hands. Hard surfaces like door knobs, faucets, handles, kitchen/bathroom sinks, etc can harbor active virus for 8-24 hours post sneeze, longer for some other kinds of surfaces, shorter for bare skin.

Your only defense is to wash your hands, keep your fingers out of your nose, eyes, and mouth to limit transmission. Your evasion plan will not work longterm. You need more. And yes, transmssion from airborne droplets can occur, not that often. If the person sneezed into your face in front of you then this is a sure fire method to transmit flu and cold. This is why small children are a primary vector for flu.

There is a reason every medical exam room has both a bottle or dispenser of hand sanitizer and a sink with antibacterial hand soap. Clean hands do not infect.
 
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  • #6
new6ton said:
Someone in the house has cough from ordinary colds (since 4 days ago). So whenever the person enters the bathroom. I was waiting how long to enter it and not sneeze in the droplets. Sometimes I just hold my breath.
You could request the person cover their mouth with a handkerchief when they sneeze or cough.

At work we always say, "please don't give it to me," as a hint.

Can you get a flu jab where you are? You can get this free if you have asthma in the UK
 
  • #7
There really isn't a set amount of time that droplets stay suspended, because droplets from coughing and sneezing can vary greatly in size, and the smallest "can stay suspended indefinitely" depending on simple air currents in the location (https://www.livescience.com/3686-gross-science-cough-sneeze.html)

Additionally, a really big thing to watch is how surfaces get touched, and where commonly touched surfaces are. As particles settle onto a surface that gets touched, further touches keep spreading those particles further and further. Door handles are among many objects that really help spread various things around a community (https://www.cbsnews.com/news/one-germy-doorknob-can-infect-half-your-office-within-hours/)

But, one positive take away from this - you've likely already been exposed to those specific germs. You're currently not sick from them from what I understand you've said, so you probably either have a subclinical infection or are not likely to become infected. So, use the restroom as you choose, perhaps?
 
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Related to How long do cough droplets take to settle in a bathroom?

1. How long do cough droplets stay suspended in the air in a bathroom?

Cough droplets can stay suspended in the air for up to 3 hours in a bathroom with poor ventilation.

2. How long does it take for cough droplets to settle on surfaces in a bathroom?

It can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours for cough droplets to settle on surfaces in a bathroom, depending on the size of the droplets and the air flow in the room.

3. Can cough droplets travel through air vents and spread to other rooms in a bathroom?

Yes, cough droplets can travel through air vents and potentially spread to other rooms in a bathroom if the ventilation system is not properly filtered.

4. How long should I wait before entering a bathroom after someone has coughed in it?

It is recommended to wait at least 30 minutes before entering a bathroom after someone has coughed in it, to allow any droplets to settle and the air to clear out.

5. Can using a fan in a bathroom help disperse cough droplets?

Using a fan in a bathroom can help disperse cough droplets, but it can also potentially spread them to other areas if the ventilation is not properly filtered. It is best to avoid using a fan if someone has recently coughed in the bathroom.

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