Its Never Too Late To Get The Flu Vaccine
Everyone should get an annual flu shot. If you havent had your flu shot this year, its never too late to be vaccinated. Particularly if youre in an at-risk group and eligible for free flu vaccination.
The flu vaccination is free for:
- children aged 6 months to under 5 years
- pregnant women
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- people with chronic medical conditions.
You can get your flu shot from a range of providers including GPs, community health centres and some pharmacies.
Please note, some doctors or other immunisation providers may charge a consultation fee. Check with your local immunisation provider to see whether there are any costs involved.
Can The Flu Spread Through The Air
Were told time and time again to cover our coughs and sneezes, especially when we have a cold or the flu. Were led to believe that the tiny droplets that rush out of our noses and mouths could spread the virus to others nearby .
But just how well can flu viruses travel through the air? And whats the risk of us spreading them via the sprays excreted through our noses and mouths? To answer these questions, you first need to grasp the dynamics of our coughs and sneezes.
/9how Can You Prevent The Spread Of Germs
While cold and flu usually transmit for one person to another, it is also a possibility that you can get infected by touching a contaminated surface like a metro pole or door knob. As a rule of thumb, it is best to steer clear of things that get touched by a lot of people during the length of the day, like doors, lift buttons, taps in the public washrooms and poles on public transports.
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How Long Can The Cold Virus Live On Surfaces
The COVID-19 pandemic has made united states change our hygiene practices. We’re washing our hands more often and we’re more enlightened of how germs are spread, and how we can stop them from spreading.
Many of us have also started cleaning our household surfaces more than regularly. And then, you may exist wondering how long viruses and bacteria tin alive on these surfaces.
Read on to acquire near the unlike types of germs that can brand us ill, how long they can live on surfaces, and what y’all can do to avoid them.
How Are Flu Germs Transmitted
While the flu virus may be a tough guy when itâs inside your body, in the outside world, itâs a frail weakling. The way the flu is structured, it simply isnât very resilient.
The flu is nothing like some of the nasty gastrointestinal viruses, like the bane of all cruise ship vacationers, norovirus. âSome of those viruses can survive on an object for months and withstand cleaning with bleach,â Hay tells WebMD. âInfluenza isnât like that.â
There have been studies of how long significant amounts of flu germs can survive on surfaces. Estimates range from a few minutes up to 24 hours, depending on the type of surface.
While 24 hours seems like a long time, experts downplay the significance. âIâve looked at the data, and there just isnât good evidence that environmental surfaces have a significant role in the transmission of the virus,â says Trish M. Perl, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore. Instead, the flu seems to depend more on direct transmission from an infected person.
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Lifespan Depends On The Virus And The Surface
In light of the novel coronavirus, researchers are looking at how SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses behave on surfaces.
A recent study from scientists at a federal laboratory reported that SARS-CoV-2 the virus causing the current coronavirus pandemic can live on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to 72 hours, on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on copper for 4 hours. This was how long the virus could survive in large enough amounts to be transmissible, according to the researchers.
Another 2020 study published in the Journal of Hospital Infectionanalyzed 22 studies on other SARS and MERS coronaviruses. Researchers found that, on average, the viruses persisted on metal, plastic, and glass surfaces at room temperature for four to five days, and could persist for up to nine days depending on temperature and humidity.
Therefore, how long harmful germs live on different surfaces is “very specific to the pathogen, environmental factors like humidity, and also what surface it’s on,” says Todd Nega, MD, an infectious disease specialist at NorthShore University HealthSystem.
With fabrics, it’s unclear how long viruses can last. But generally, they tend to last for a shorter amount of time on fabric compared to hard surfaces like stainless steel, according to the Mayo Clinic. It may also depend on what material the fabric is made from.
How Long Do Flu Germs Live On Hands
Theres not much evidence about how long flu germs can live on hands, but one study found that they only live for a few minutes. Most experts think flu spreads mainly through droplets released when infected people cough, sneeze or talk, which then get into the noses or mouths of people nearby. You should wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based sanitiser to help stop the spread of germs.
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How Long Does Coronavirus Live On Surfaces How To Disinfect And Kill Viruses
Touching any surface suddenly seemed dangerous at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, but experts now worry less about COVID-19 spreading this way.
Surface transmission is “not thought to be a common way” that the illness is spread, though it’s possible a person could get sick by touching an object contaminated with the virus and then touching his or her face, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted.
COVID-19 most commonly spreads during close contact with a person who is sick, but experts say people should remain vigilant about washing their hands, focusing on that more than wiping down delivered packages, mail or other objects with disinfectant.
Flu Germs Live 8 To 12 Hours On Fabric
The influenza virus tends to live for a shorter time on fabric than hard surfaces, Reynolds says. Scientists do not have a definite explanation for why, but it may be because fabrics are more porous. Studies show that the flu virus can live for only 8 to 12 hours on fabric.
Bedding, especially pillowcases, and your clothes may be important hotspots for germs. Your washing machine is not designed to disinfect clothes, but running a load with bleach can help get rid of lingering germs. It can also help to run your washer on the highest heat setting, as viruses cannot survive temperatures above 140 degrees F.
For other soft items in your house like couches, you can use a sanitizing spray to get rid of germs, says Reynolds. When sanitizing fabrics, it’s best to avoid bleach-based sprays, as they can alter the color of fabrics, and instead stick to non-bleach sprays with ingredients like peroxide.
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Whats The Best Surface For Killing Viruses
In the cases of both flu and cold-causing viruses, infectious particles on our hands are usually gone after 20 minutes, meaning that our skin is one of the most protective surfaces.Our bodys immune system acts a defensive barrier which does a great job at killing viruses. On top of that, our skin has its own bacteria living on it which doesnt harbour viruses well which is good news for us.
How Long Are Cold And Flu Viruses Infectious
Theres not a lot of rigorous data on this question, which is probably why theres also a lot of confusion.
Prior to this decade, only a handful of studies looked at how long flu viruses retain their infectiousness on common surfaces. A 1982 study found influenza A remained contagious up to 48 hours on hard plastic or stainless steel, while a 2008 publication found these viruses stayed infectious for up to three days on Swiss bank notes.
Influenza viruses may actually have a much shorter infectious lifespan, based on more recent work by virologist Dr. Jane Greatorex at Public Health England. In a 2011 study, her team took two strains of influenza A and analyzed how long they remained infectiousness on a variety of common surfaces. After nine hours, viable viruses were no longer found on most non-porous metal and plastic surfaces, such as aluminum and computer keyboards. On porous items, like soft toys, clothes and wooden surfaces, viable viruses disappeared after four hours.
Most viruses that cause colds and flus remain contagious on non-porous surfaces like computer keyboards longer than porous surfaces like fabric and Kleenex. Photo by strixcode/Adobe Stock
Because common colds are caused by a plethora of viruses, research on surface infectious rates are harder to nail down. In general, most are no longer dangerous after 24 hours, and their ability to infect dissipates faster on porous materials like facial tissues.
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How To Avoid Getting Ill From Germs On Surfaces
There are some general steps you can take every day to help you avoid becoming ill through germs:
Indoor Ventilation And Avoiding Crowded Indoor Spaces
The CDC recommends that crowded indoor spaces should be avoided. When indoors, increasing the rate of air change, decreasing recirculation of air and increasing the use of outdoor air can reduce transmission. The WHO recommends ventilation and air filtration in public spaces to help clear out infectious aerosols.
Exhaled respiratory particles can build-up within enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation. The risk of COVID-19 infection increases especially in spaces where people engage in physical exertion or raise their voice as this increases exhalation of respiratory droplets. Prolonged exposure to these conditions, typically more than 15 minutes, leads to higher risk of infection.
Displacement ventilation with large natural inlets can move stale air directly to the exhaust in laminar flow while significantly reducing the concentration of droplets and particles. Passive ventilation reduces energy consumption and maintenance costs but may lack controllability and heat recovery. Displacement ventilation can also be achieved mechanically with higher energy and maintenance costs. The use of large ducts and openings helps to prevent mixing in closed environments. Recirculation and mixing should be avoided because recirculation prevents dilution of harmful particles and redistributes possibly contaminated air, and mixing increases the concentration and range of infectious particles and keeps larger particles in the air.
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Flu Prevention Tip: Clean Your Hands
If youâve got the urge to clean away flu germs, the best place to start is with your hands.
âCovering your mouth and washing your hands are the two most important ways to stop the spread of the flu,â Perl tells WebMD.
What should you wash with? You might assume that antibacterial soap would be preferable, but thatâs the not the case. First of all, flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria. Second, any type of soap will do.
âTime and thoroughness are what matters when it comes to washing your hands,â says Schaffner. âNot the type of soap.â Itâs the scrubbing that counts. Youâre not killing the virus with soap so much as dislodging it from your skin and sending it down the sink drain.
The CDC recommends that you wash your hands for the length of time it takes to sing âHappy Birthdayâ twice, about 15 to 20 seconds. Schaffner says that while 30 seconds would be ideal, he admits that this isnât always possible.
âIâve timed myself, and that can seem like a really long time,â Schaffner says. While itâs still a good goal, at the very least make sure that youâve covered the surface of both hands and done it vigorously.
What about alcohol-based hand sanitizers? Flu experts are enthusiastic.
âI love the stuff,â Perl tells WebMD. She observes that one of its main advantages is that you can use it on the go, far away from sink. Just rub it in until itâs dry, she says, which usually takes just ten seconds or so.
The Claim: Flu Viruses Live Longer On Surfaces Than Cold Viruses
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THE FACTS Most people know that cold and flu viruses can contaminate doorknobs, faucets and other surfaces. But for how long?
Studies have found that the survival time for both kinds of viruses varies greatly, from a few seconds to 48 hours. The reasons have to do with a number of factors, including the type of surface, humidity and temperature.
For example, cold and flu viruses survive longer on inanimate surfaces that are nonporous, like metal, plastic and wood, and less on porous surfaces, like clothing, paper and tissue. Most flu viruses can live one to two days on nonporous surfaces, and 8 to 12 hours on porous surfaces. But a 2006 study found that avian influenza seemed particularly hardy, surviving as long as six days on some surfaces.
Cold viruses, however, deteriorate quickly. A study in 2007 found that when objects in a hotel room light switches, telephones were contaminated with a cold virus, 60 percent of healthy volunteers picked up the virus when they touched one of the objects an hour later. Eighteen hours later, the transmission rate was cut in half.
On skin, cold and flu viruses generally last less than a few minutes, but that can be plenty of time: studies show that most people touch their hands or mouth several times in the course of daily activities enough to cause infection.
THE BOTTOM LINE Flu viruses tend to survive longer than cold viruses.
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How Long Do Cold Viruses Remain Infectious
Common colds are caused by a plethora of viruses, and there are few studies that investigate surface infectious rates. In general, although some can be detected on indoor surfaces for up to seven days, they are infectious only for up to 24 hours. Generally, they last longer on hard, nonporous surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel than porous materials like facial tissues.
Most cold and flu viruses are enveloped viruses A enveloped virus, and they disintegrate easily, unlike non-enveloped ones such as norovirus which can be viable on surfaces for weeks.
Temperature, ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, pH changes and salt can play a role in weakening a viral envelope. Viruses also tend to be more stable in warm, moist environments for example, inside a persons nostrils, throat, or bronchial tree, than non-moist or dry environments.
This is why cold and flu viruses remain infectious on non-porous hard surfaces rather than porous surfaces like fabric and tissues, because porous surfaces suck moisture away from the viruses, causing the structures to collapse.
But not all non-porous surfaces serve as ideal havens for viruses. Copper surfaces, which are naturally antiviral and antibacterial, stop the virus from being infectious within six hours.
The Lifespans Of Common Pathogens
If someone is suffering from an infectious disease like the flu, its easy for the illness-causing pathogens to leave their bodies by coughing and sneezing. Once germs come into contact with a surface, they can remain infectious for quite some time out of the body. A pathogens ability to make you ill degrades over time, and if it is no longer active, it cannot cause an infection.
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Killing Flu Germs Around The Home And Office
Even if it may be an unlikely mode of transmission, itâs still conceivable that you could pick up the flu bug from a surface. So if youâd like, you can disinfect some of the areas in your home and office that are most likely to harbor flu germs.
While flu germs can theoretically be spread by sheets or towels, itâs unlikely: Influenza can only live a few minutes on soft surfaces. Influenza germs tend to last longest on hard surfaces, so you could focus on:
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