It’s been nearly a month into the fall semester classes, still in the middle of September, and already I have noticed the astonishing amount of coughs and sneezes in my classes. As a freshman, all I have are rumors of the infamous “Penn State cold” that spreads around State college in no time at all. In preparation for this infamous time at Penn State, I was intrigued in the dynamics of a sneeze.

I was online researching how the common cold spreads so easily when I stumbled upon a 6abc World News article depicting how a sneeze looks in slow motion. After watching the video, I was astonished by the range of which the mucus can reach.


Image found here

The 6abc article makes reference to the study done by the New England Journal of medicine, which ultimately concluded that, a sneeze could travel upwards of 3-26 feet. Even more appalling, the closer someone is to the sneeze the more vulnerable they are to the thicker mucus. The study was done based on a sneeze that was not coerced in any way.

The nose seems to be the most commonly affected area during a cold as made evident by the number of sneezes in a classroom and empty tissue boxes lying around the dorms. Thanks to the notorious sneeze, it is also one of the most effective ways to pass on the cold to someone else.

However, it is from the research done on observing the elements of a sneeze that the solution to end the spread of the cold is to simply cover the nose! It is important to use a tissue to prohibit the sneeze from extending towards other people, potentially infecting them. Another commonplace method to forbid the advancement of the cold is by washing hands. Now more than ever the human race is aware of the staggering amount of germs in our world. Thus, it is absolutely crucial that all people wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water, to ensure immunity.

It is important to take care of yourself during this upcoming cold season, but more importantly to be conscious of those around you, as to not infect them with a potential virus. A college campus can be a hot bed for viruses such as the cold, so it is important to stay informed as winter approaches.

4 thoughts on “The Penn State cold…

  1. Samuel Deluca

    Being your roommate I have first hand experience receiving the vicious Penn State cold from you. However, I do not think sneezing is the problem spreading this sickness to thousands of students. From what I have observed is that coughing is way more prevalent in classrooms and around campus. Coughing is another interesting way to spread sickness. The science behind the cough and sneeze is here

  2. Colleen Bridget Mcshea

    My sister attended Penn State years ago, and when moving me into my dorm she warned me about how easy it is to get sick up here. She told me to wash my hands nonstop and bring hand sanitizer everywhere I go. I always wash my hands after using the bathroom, of course, but never listened to her extra hand washing advice until about a week ago when I started coughing uncontrollably and now, just a few weeks in, I’m sneezing and blowing my nose every five minutes. I caught the Penn State cold for sure. I wish I would have listened to her, considering she had witnessed it firsthand and been effected by it, but now I’m learning the hard way! My little tips that I’ve started using are to use hand sanitizer between every class, since you’re constantly touching door handles and desks that thousands of other students are touching and using, and also to always wash your hands before you eat because the mouth is one of the easiest places for germs to get into your body, so make sure your hands are clean before putting them near your mouth!

  3. Nicole Trachman

    When I think of the Penn State plague I automatically think of the Forum building. Out of all the classrooms I’ve been in here at PSU, noise seems to travel easiest in the Forum and I assume that is why I feel like everyone in that place is sick. Think about our class, how many coughs and sneezes do you hear throughout Andrews lectures? I feel like the noises of sick students are non-stop. In a setting like one in our classroom we are at a very high risk to getting infected by the people around us. The picture you provided of a sneeze shows exactly how vulnerable we are when sitting beside hundreds of fellow sick students. All it takes is one person behind you to sneeze and you’ve probably caught it. It is hard to avoid getting sick, even when you think your immune system is awesome (as I did last year, only to find myself sick multiple times).Hopefully everyone will read your post and see just how important it is to cover your mouth when you sneeze! But if not, I found this article that has some tips on how we can stay healthy in a college environment.

  4. Jarrod T Skole

    Being a sophomore now I have seen the Penn State cold and had to deal with it first hand. I think there might be more to just your nose when it comes to getting this sickness. The main reason I think people get this cold is because of the dorms they stay in. East halls is a perfect example of this. It is full of very dated buildings with small rooms and communal bathrooms. These bathrooms are shared with every single male or female on your floor, which means that at least one of the kids have to be sick. These infected students will be touching the sink, toilet handle, door handles, and much more . Once these objects are touched they become infected and lead to other students touching them and thus becoming infected as well. I understand that sneezing can play a massive role in getting sick, but I believe that people not washing their hands or not wiping something down once they’ve touched it is also a big factor.

Leave a Reply