A Dublin-based surgeon has illustrated why it is important not to become complacent of social distancing in a video released today.

It is because we live in a cloud - especially if we sneeze or cough.

The professor has come up with a way to illustrate the effects of a sneeze or a cough and how it can impact on others' personal space. 

The project involved Ronan Cahill, Professor of Surgery at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital and University College Dublin, and Dr Kevin Nolan, who is an engineer at University College Dublin and an expert in Schlieren technology.

Using Schlieren technology - a physics principle using light to show the density of fluids and gases - the two illustrated how air moves around people when they breathe, cough and sneeze.

"It is using rather old-fashioned physics principles to use light to show density of fluids and gases," Professor Cahill told RTÉ's News at One.  

"You can see air moving around people and in and out of people as they are breathing.

"It gives a really vivid illustration of how far you need to stand away from someone. You can see droplets - micro droplets - moving around the person. 

"You see quite easily that we are all walking around in a cloud and particularly if we cough. Particularly if we sneeze that that cloud might impinge on other people's personal space," he said.

"I think this shows why these public health recommendations are in place and why people should comply with it," added Professor Cahill.

"The single most important thing to do is to stay apart from each other. The risk of infection of Covid-19 is related to proximity between people.

"The country is doing a fantastic job at the moment of staying apart from each other but it is really important that we keep doing that."