During coughing or sneezing, or even during talking, tiny particles of water and mucus are expelled from our mouth and nose. These are droplets. Respiratory pathogens like some viruses and bacteria can hitch a ride on these droplets and transmit from person to person.
What are droplets
Droplets are tiny particles of water and mucus expelled from our respiratory tract. Depending on the size, these particles are divided into two categories — droplets and droplet nucleicowling2013.
The particles larger than 5 μm are called droplets. As they are larger, they settle down quickly after being expelled. Usually they don't travel beyond 1 to 2 meters.
Droplet nuclei on the other hand are smaller than 5 μm. Their smaller size allows them to travel longer distances. But they also dry up easily. They are also called aerosols.
Droplets are produced during coughing and sneezing. They are generated even during regular speech. As expected, higher voice generates higher amount of dropletsanfinrud2020.
Certain procedures are known to produce a higher amount of droplets. Such procedures include nebulisation, intubation etc.