Friday, September 29, 2023

How Long Does The Flu Virus Live On Surfaces

Must read

The Claim: Flu Viruses Live Longer On Surfaces Than Cold Viruses

How long can a virus survive on different surfaces?
  • Send any friend a story

    As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month. Anyone can read what you share.

    Give this article

By Anahad OConnor

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.

Why Dont Cold And Flu Viruses Live Forever

Cold and flu viruses rapid decrease in viability outside the body is thanks to three main factors: their enveloped structure, environmental conditions and how much our mucus surrounds it after a sneeze.

A enveloped virus like influenza A and most cold-causing viruses are by nature set up for destruction, Greatorex said. While these enveloped viruses are typically neutralized within 48 hours, a non-enveloped one like norovirus, an intestinal disease which has caused multiple mass outbreaks on cruise ships can be viable on surfaces for weeks.

Anything that disrupts the proteins on the virus surface pretty much kills these enveloped viruses, Greatorex said. They are not particularly resistant.

Temperature, ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, pH changes and salt can play a role in weakening a viral envelope. But one of the main factors is moisture.

Viruses tend to be more stable in environments for which theyre known to reproduce, Auwaerter said. If they live in warm, moist environments for example, in your nostrils, in your throat, in your bronchial tree theyre more stable. But when theyre exposed to a different material or to a non-moist environment, they can break down.

This is why cold and flu viruses remain infectious on non-porous surfaces like light switches and countertops longer than porous surfaces like fabric and tissues. Porous surfaces suck moisture away from the viruses, causing the structures to collapse.

How Long Does The Flu Virus Live In The Body

Up to about 11 days. It usually takes about 2 days from picking up the flu to having symptoms, but can take 1 to 4 days. This is called the incubation period. Generally, you can spread the flu from 3 to 4 days before you have symptoms. Then youre usually contagious for 5 to 7 days after first having symptoms.

Recommended Reading: Alka Seltzer Tablets Cold And Flu

The Flu Virus: How Long Can It Survive

Estimates from the CDC show that the United States sees between 9 million and 45 million cases of influenza . As of 2018, that equates to an estimated nationwide burden of $11.2 billion per year. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to protect yourself, your workplace, and your coworkers from the hazards of flu season.

Remember that everyone you work with has a right to a safeand healthy workplace. The best ways to protect yourself and others from spreading the flu at work isto get vaccinated every year and stay home if youre sick! Beyond that, itsvital to maintain clean and sanitary conditions in your work and living spaces.

What Is The Best Way To Prevent Cold/flu Virus Transmission From Surfaces

How Long Do Viruses Live on Surfaces?

Studies have shown that flu viruses can remain infectious for 4 to 9 hours and cold viruses for up to 24 hours, so frequent cleaning of commonly touched items and surfaces throughout the working day, particularly if people with symptoms are present , can help reduce transmission.

Classrooms, offices, and living rooms, which are left unoccupied overnight, are unlikely to contain much viable virus on surfaces by the next morning.

Washing your hands often is a critical step in preventing colds, especially when youre in close contact with a sick person. Use disinfectants to clean objects or areas that have been in contact with individuals who are sick. Chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, soaps, detergents, or alcohol-based gels all disrupt the capsules of the viruses, and theyre no longer capable of being infectious.

If youre around someone with a cold, avoid touching your face and wash your hands frequently, and tell them to take a sick day. If youre sick, stay home and cover coughs and sneezes.

For the answer to How long can the Coronavirus survive on surfaces? click here.

Don’t Miss: How To Tell If It’s A Cold Or Flu

World Breastfeeding Week August 1

This year, WABAs emphasis for World Breastfeeding Week is on strengthening the capacity of actors that protect, promote and support breastfeeding across different levels of society including governments, health systems, workplaces and communities to provide and sustain breastfeeding-friendly environments for families in the post-pandemic world. According to WABA, breastfeeding can assist with sustainable development strategies post-pandemic, as it can improve nutrition, ensure food security, and reduce inequalities between and within countries.

How Long Do Bacteria And Viruses Live Outside The Body

All of Healthily’s articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

It depends on the type of bacteria or virus, what kind of surface they are on and what the surrounding environment is like, for example, if it’s hot, cold, damp or sunny.

Also Check: Do You Have The Flu

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.

What About Influenza Complications

Valley doctor explains how long viruses can last on surfaces

In some cases of the flu, severe illness and complications can develop. This can result in hospitalisation and even death.

The flu can also make some existing medical conditions worse.

In Victoria, flu vaccination is free for people with a higher risk of severe complications associated with the flu:

  • children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from 6 months and over
  • pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy
  • people 65 years and over
  • people aged 6 months and older with medical conditions putting them at higher risk of severe flu and its complications:
  • cardiac disease
  • children aged 6 months to 10 years on long term aspirin therapy.

Don’t Miss: 2017 18 United States Flu Season

How Long Can A Virus Live Outside A Body

Asked by: Chaudhary Nikul, India

Viruses can live for a surprisingly long time outside of a body, depending on conditions such as moisture and temperature. They tend to live longer on water-resistant surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastics.

A cold virus can sometimes survive on indoor surfaces for several days, although its ability to cause infection drops dramatically over time.

Flu viruses can survive in the air for several hours, especially at lower temperatures, and on hard surfaces they can survive and remain infectious for 24 hours.

Enteric viruses, such as norovirus and hepatitis A, can survive for weeks on a surface if conditions are suitable. The norovirus is known for causing sickness outbreaks in schools, cruise ships and hospitals.

Read more:

to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q& As every month and follow on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.

Does H5n1 Flu Virus Spread Human To Human

The risk of transmission between humans is very low.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been no sustained human to human or community level transmissions thus far of H5N1.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is continually monitoring the outbreaks of avian influenza H5N1 in poultry, as well as human cases in Asia and other countries.

Highly infectious avian influenza H5N1 has not been identified in birds in Canada or Ontario.

The risk posed to humans by avian influenza in birds is very low. Avian influenza does not transmit easily from birds to infect humans.

This is the first identified and confirmed case of H5N1 in North America.

Don’t Miss: Flu Shot Walk In Cvs

How Long Do Viruses Survive Outside The Body

February 14, 2020 By Caitlin Hartwyk

The CDC said on average a person gets two to three colds per year. Most of these colds are also caught in the winter and spring. With cold and flu season around its peak, it can be hard to avoid catching a virus thats going around.

Germs are everywhere this time of year, from doorknobs to desks. If a person chooses not to wash their hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose, those germs and bacteria are even more common.

Its hard to avoid touching things like doorknobs, but how long do viruses survive outside of the body?

Flu viruses can survive on hard surfaces and infect another person for 24 to 48 hours. Cold viruses dont survive as long usually a few hours. But there is evidence that they can survive and be passed on for up to 24 hours. Thats how Dr. Alison Carey, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Drexel University, explained the health risk.

Can The Flu Spread Through The Air

How long does the flu virus live on surfaces?

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.

Recommended Reading: Flu Shot While On Antibiotics

How Doesthe Flu Virus Spread

The most common way for the flu to spreadis person-to-person transmission. The flu leaves an infected persons bodythrough tiny droplets of fluid, which are emitted by coughing, sneezing, andtalking. Those droplets can travel up to approximately six feet through the airand land in or get inhaled by the mouths and nostrils of our friends,coworkers, loved ones, and strangers we pass throughout the day. While it mightseem like common sense, its important to state that this process isnt uniqueto the flu. Many illnesses and diseases spread the same way and can be foughtwith similar tactics.

Prevention And Protection From Viruses

Prevention of viruses isnt guaranteed, but there are a couple simple steps to protect yourself against them.

Washing your hands regularly will greatly reduce your risk of catching a virus. The step is even more important if you touch your face often throughout the day.

Another way to give yourself extra protection is by using sanitation wipes or cleaners to clean surfaces around your house or office.

Are you worried about catching the flu this time of year? Passport Health can help with that! Give us a call at , or book an appointment online for more information about the flu shot.

Did you know some viruses survive longer than others? Does this news change your plans to stay free of those illnesses? Let us know in the comments, or via and .

Filed Under: General Posts

About Us

Recommended Reading: How To Give Flu Vaccine Injection

Cold And Flu Viruses: How Long Can They Live Outside The Body

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Nov 10, 2021.

Cold, flu and other related viruses may stay infectious for several hours to days, depending on where their droplets fall. Viruses generally stay active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces. The amount of virus that lands on a surface, as well as the temperature and humidity of the environment, also determines how long cold, flu and other viruses stay active outside the body.

It’s possible to catch the flu or a cold virus after touching an object that a person with one of these viruses sneezed or coughed on a few moments before. But close contact with a person who has one of these viruses such as a handshake or breathing in droplets from a cough or sneeze is the most common way these viruses spread. The COVID-19 virus also spreads in these ways.

To reduce the risk of catching or spreading viruses that cause colds, the flu or COVID-19:

© 1998-2022 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research . All rights reserved. Terms of use.

Protecting Yourself And Your Loved Ones

How long can coronavirus live on surfaces?

Flu viruses can survive as droplets in the air for hours and on surfaces for up to a day but can only survive on tissues for 15 minutes . Bearing this in mind, if you do catch the flu:

  • Use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Put them in the bin straight away .
  • Alternatively, cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve in the bend of your arm. Never use your hands .

If anyone in your home has the flu:

  • Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water .
  • Disinfect surfaces such as door handles, remote controls and telephones .
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth .

While these steps can give you some protection from the flu, getting a seasonal flu vaccine every year is the most effective way to prevent the flu . If youre unfortunate enough to become infected, a flu shot will make your symptoms milder . Have you had yours?


Also Check: How To Get Proof Of Flu Shot From Cvs

Early Data Suggests The New Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces For Several Days

The new coronavirus is, well, new and there’s still much to learn about how easily the virus can spread via contaminated surfaces. But early evidence indicates that the surface survivability of the new coronavirus is similar to that of SARS, a related coronavirus first identified in 2002. Depending on the surface, the virus can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days.

The new coronavirus seems to be able to survive the longest on plastic and stainless steel potentially as long as three days on these surfaces. It can also live on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

But while surface-to-person transmission of the new coronavirus is definitely possible, the likelihood sharply reduces with time. The same laboratory study also found that the virus degrades relatively rapidly on surfaces as quickly as just a few hours in some cases. In fact, at the end of the three-day mark, less than 0.1% of the starting virus material could be detected on plastic.

Find out what this means for the things you touch throughout the day, including your:

Cold Viruses Can Survive On Indoor Surfaces For Up To Seven Days But Are Infectious Only For About 24 Hours

Cold viruses can survive on indoor surfaces for up to seven days, but are infectious only for about 24 hours. Generally, they last longer on hard, nonporous surfaces such as plastic or stainless steel. The virus is less likely to live as long on soft, porous surfaces such as tissues.

Youre more likely to catch a cold from someone whos contagious. Still, being careful around potentially infected objects can help.

Washing your hands often is a critical step in preventing colds, especially when youre in close contact with a sick person. Use disinfectants to clean objects or areas that have been in contact with individuals who are sick.

The majority of colds are caused by rhinoviruses, the most common causes of viral infections in humans. These pathogens thrive in warm, moist environments such as throats and nasal passageways. Infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk for infection.

Read Also: Difference Between Regular Flu Shot And High Dose

How Long Is The Flu Contagious

According to the CDC, an infected person can start spreading the flu virus one day before symptoms arise and up to seven days after. Overall, though, an infected person is most contagious three to four days after their symptoms start. Children and people with a weakened immune system can be contagious for longer than seven days.

Most people recover from the flu and are no longer contagious after about a week. Staying home and away from people while you recuperate is important to stopping the flus spread. Experts at UC-Irvine Health say you should stay home until:

  • You have no fever for 24 hours , or ibuprofen
  • You do not have vomiting or diarrhea for at least 24 hours
  • Your coughing and sneezing has been reduced by at least 75%

And dont push yourself. Ease back into your normal routine gradually. If just getting up, showered, and dressed exhausts you, you probably should stay home and continue to rest. Experts advise not returning to your normal schedule until you have at least 90% of your regular energy levels back.

More articles

Popular Articles

What Is B Type Flu

Long Term Effects Of Flu Shot

Sanford Walk In Flu Shot

Schedule Flu Shot Rite Aid