Every Monday, HuffPost answers questions about Covid-19 and health in general. Today they answer the question: "If I hold my breath when I walk past people, would that help stop me getting coronavirus if they have it?"
I've found myself doing this, especially in indoor places, since the pandemic hit and I assume lots of others have too. But I haven't heard anyone talk about it until now. And the answer to the question in a nutshell: it "might help."
"The risk of transmission when you just cross someone in the street is very low, especially if you're wearing a good mask," says Professor Jose-Luis Jimenez, an aerosol expert from the University of Colorado Boulder.
That said, holding your breath when you cross someone "might help a little bit in some very infrequent circumstances", he says. For example, if you cross someone who is shedding a high viral load into aerosols, and their exhaled breath happens to go your way with little dilution.
…Dr Tang recommends that if you see someone walking towards you, it's best to take a quick breath in and then you exhale out after you've walked past them.
"Holding your breath is good but if you breathe out, it's even better, because you then blow any virus away," he says.
Image by Derrick Coetzee – Flickr: Regional Ambassadors walking in Boston, CC0