Should you hold your breath if people get too close to prevent COVID-19? We tell you the truth

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As the number of coronavirus infections continues to rise in unprecedented ways across the globe, people are fervently searching for novel ways to keep themselves safe from the highly infectious contagion. Even though scientists and medical experts are working day and night to learn more about the virus causing the COVID-19 and developing a cure for the same, a vaccination fit from human use is still at least 12 to 18 months away.

As we gear up to enter the sixth month of 2020, countries worldwide are easing lockdown restrictions in a bid to lessen the impact of economic slowdown. People are gradually stepping out more, which paves the way for numerous questions pertaining to novel coronavirus and how we should keep ourselves safe.

Should you hold your breath when people get close to you?


One of these questions includes whether or not we should hold our breath when someone brushes by too close in a public place. While most of are avoiding unnecessary movement outside, we still need to step out to get essential items and emergency hospital visits. Hence, it is not uncommon to find people brushing close to each other in a bid to quickly get their work done and get out of the premises.

If you are like most people, you may instinctively hold your breath when someone comes close to you, in order to keep the pathogens away. However, does it help? Don’t worry, we have an answer for you.

First things first, if you are in a public setting with a lot of people around, it is strongly advisable to wear face-coverings or face masks and make sure to practise social distancing. Experts believe that if someone briefly walks by you, you are unlikely to contract the virus. So unless, they are coughing and sneezing right at your face, holding your breath may not be necessary.

The bottom line

So, while you can hold your breath while someone is breathing right at your face or speaking very close to you (which should either ways be avoided), it may not be needed when a person just passed you briefly.

This reinstates the importance of maintaining a distance of at least six feet when you are out in public, wearing face-coverings, not touching your face and washing hands frequently. Remember that while holding your breath may be marginally beneficial, it is certainly not a replacement for wearing face masks, especially when you are out in public.

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