Health experts say you can catch the flu ‘just by breathing’

WASHINGTON, D.C.– We are nearing the peak of flu season and right now 49 states are reporting a widespread outbreak. Even more alarming, health experts say you can catch the flu just by breathing! You do not have to be coughed or sneezed on to be contaminated.

Researchers analyzed air around the exhaled breaths of more than 100-people diagnosed with the flu. They found the flu contaminated nearly half of the airborne samples captured around flu patients who didn’t cough or sneeze; they were just breathing. That means while washing hands and cleaning surfaces is good hygiene, it may not necessarily protect you from getting sick.

Study authors hope their findings could help improve ventilation systems in buildings and transit systems as a way to reduce the risk of transmission.

The findings appear in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”