Singing Happy Birthday could spread Covid-19, a new study warns

Singing happy birthday may be good for timing how long to wash your hands, but a new study reveals it could also be spreading coronavirus infected droplets.

Aerosol researchers at Lund University, Sweden studied the amount of particles emitted when we sing, and the impact this has on the spread of Covid-19. 

To understand how many virus particles are emitted when we sing, researchers had 12 healthy singers and two people with Covid-19 sing into a funnel. 

The study shows that singing – particularly loud and consonant-rich singing found in songs like Happy Birthday – spreads a lot droplets into the surrounding air.

Researchers say if singers wear a face mask and venues practice social distancing and implement good ventilation, then the risk from singing can be reduced.

The NHS recommended people sing 'Happy Birthday' twice while washing hands as it was the perfect amount of time to ensure as many germs as possible are removed. 

To understand how many virus particles are emitted when we sing, researchers had 12 healthy singers and two people with Covid-19 sing into a funnel

To understand how many virus particles are emitted when we sing, researchers had 12 healthy singers and two people with Covid-19 sing into a funnel

The idea for the study came off the back of a number of reports about the spread of Covid-19 in connection with choirs singing together, researchers explained.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POSES A RISK DUE TO 'P' AND 'B' SOUNDS 

Researchers say songs with a lot of consonants are particularly risky to sing as they push more droplets.

Songs with a higher proportion of 'B' and 'P' sounds pose the greatest risk.

This includes 'Happy Birthday', the song recommended by the NHS to time hand washing at the start of the Coronavirus crisis.

Happy Birthday lyrics: 

Happy Birthday to You  

Happy Birthday to You

Happy Birthday Dear Name

Happy Birthday to You 

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'Different restrictions have been introduced all over the world to make singing safer,' according to study author Jakob Löndahl, associate professor of Aerosol Technology.

'So far, however, there has been no scientific investigation of the amount of aerosol particles and larger droplets that we actually exhale when we sing', he said.

Aerosols are small airborne particles - some of these particles are larger than others and the larger ones only move a small distance from the mouth. 

'Some droplets are so large that they only move a few decimetres from the mouth before they fall, whereas

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