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Life in Chiang Mai


Well it is that time of the year again, everyone is sick!

By Heather Allen
Well, not only is the best time of year upon us with glorious days and cool nights but the cold and ‘flu season as well, and yes this too is an aspect of life in Chiang Mai. However, here we must engage in what everyone is now calling “a rant”.
I do not claim to be a medical expert. But I do know that when that man in the queue behind me sneezes all over the back of my head that it is not a good thing! I always hesitate to turn around to glare at said man because in my mind’s eye I picture the floating particles of disease he has just sprayed out for a radius of 4.5 metres. A RADIUS!
It is interesting that the sneeze is such an explosive incident. It certainly seems explosive while engaging in it but really, do people know they are literally spraying infectious saliva in a radius of 4.5 metres when they don’t cover their mouths. In finding out this terrifying gem of information I was surprised to see that the sneeze sprays out 40,000 droplets at a rate of 144 kilometres an hour. For our American friends still using the old system, that is 15 feet and 90 mils an hour. That’s as fast as a Bangkok taxi driver let loose on the tollway!
One sneeze can release up to 100,000 germs into the air. 100,000 germs all looking for a nice new warm host like me or you. Sneezes are the body’s defense system expelling mucus and germs so don’t forget that when you sneeze. Or your kids.
I started googling sneezes, as one does when little factoids terrify you and found the most amazing video from an American show called Mythbusters (note to self, this is definitely a show to search for. Now I wish I paid for Truevisions!). The clip I saw had the two main scientists on the show (Scientists? Engineers?) drink coloured water and sneeze in front of a backdrop while it was being filmed slow motion so that the direct spray (it was about 3-5 feet or 1-1.5 metres) was clearly visible.
It taught me one thing. I am never turning around to glare at the man who just sneezed all over my shoulder but will definitely go home, wash my hair and my shirt.

The Chiang Mai Mail is publishing a series of articles on residents’ experiences of life in Chiang Mai. If you would like to contribute please email [email protected]


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Well it is that time of the year again, everyone is sick!