The early advice in the pandemic was to sing “Happy Birthday” while washing your hands to ensure sufficient cleansing and get rid of the germs. In fact, back in 2012 TV doc and cardiac surgeon Dr.Oz told this to me when we were talking about how to stay well and keep colds away. But now, health experts are now warning that the song may be a particularly potent vehicle for the spread of COVID-19. What?
Here's why: Researchers at Lund University in Sweden observed the trajectory of aerosols emitted by 12 people singing different songs, and discovered that the Birthday song has consonant-heavy lyrics, such as the hard Ps and Bs, and sends more droplets into the air.
While some studies have revealed superspreader events could be caused by singing, a researcher says “there has been no scientific investigation of the amount of aerosol particles and larger droplets that we actually exhale when we sing.”
So there! Sing Happy Birthday! Just don't blow the candles out on the cake until further notice....
Photo: Valerie Knight (Oct 2012)