Characteristics of exhaled particle production in healthy volunteers: possible implications for infectious disease transmission

Ninety-nine percent of expired particles were <1μm in diameter. Considerable variation in exhaled particle production was observed between individuals and within individuals over time. Distribution of particle production was right skewed. Approximately 90% of individuals produce <150 particles per litre in normal breathing. A few individuals had measurements of over 1000 particles per litre (maximum 1456). Particle production increased with age (p<0.001) and was associated with high tree pollen counts. Particle production levels did not remain stable over time [rho 0.14 (95%CI -0.10, 0.38, p=0.238)].