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Holding your breath can increase your chances of catching COVID-19: Study

It was found that the deposition is inversely proportional to the aspect ratio of capillaries which suggests that droplets are likely to deposit in longer bronchioles.

So, the transportation of the virus-laden droplets deep into the lungs increases with a decreased breathing frequency. This is because low breathing increases the time of residence of the virus, therefore increasing the chances of the infection.

The study was led by Professor Mahesh Panchagnula Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras and his two other scholars.

According to Panchagnula, “Our lungs have a branched structure, it has bronchioles that are dichotomously branched. This means each bronchiole branches into two and these go on for 23 generations. The deeper generations, 17 to 23, is where the aerosols meet the blood.”

The findings of this study were published in the international journal ‘Physics of Fluids’.

“Covid-19 has opened a gap in our understanding of deep pulmonological systemic diseases. Our study unravels the mystery behind how particles are transported and deposited in the deep lung. The study demonstrates the physical process by which aerosol particles are transported into the deep generations of the lung,” said Panchagnula, while elaborating on the need for such research.

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