Mutaba. It rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it? Mutaba.
June 6, 2012 11:48 AM   Subscribe

In a cloud of microscopic horrors, should I breathe through my nose or my mouth?

Let's say I'm standing in line at the bank. The air is relatively still, patient zero behind me stands a little too close. I can tell because I can hear their wheezing/labored breathing.

Then horror of horrors. They sneeze.

Statistically speaking, which is my better option for protecting myself from catching their diseases, short of running from the building... Breathe through my nose or breathe through my mouth? Should I hold my breath as long as I can to allow the germs to disperse?
posted by CarlRossi to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Your nose every single time, that is what it (and mucus) is for.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:50 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Your nose has more filtration built in (the mucus). This is why you normally breath through your nose (when you're not consciously thinking about it) but when you have to work hard, you start breathing through your mouth. You can get a higher volume of air that way but there is less filtering going on so your body's preference is to breath through its nose.
posted by VTX at 11:53 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Through your nose, though in this situation you should probably also avoid touching your face until you can wash your hands, since what they ejected into the air is probably settling on you in a fine mist (not that I wish to give you a worse case of the horrors).
posted by Mooski at 11:55 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Looks like a consensus. Thanks!
posted by CarlRossi at 12:11 PM on June 6, 2012

Bonus points if you have lots of nose hair - that is precisely why we grow it.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:42 PM on June 6, 2012

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