How long do viruses live on surfaces

The flu season has always caused people to be more cautious about handshakes and sharing items. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected millions of people worldwide, has heightened this fear. Even in one’s home, doorknobs and desks are suspect. How long can these viruses survive on surfaces? Can a virus live long enough to be a danger to your health or not? Answers are impossible to provide because they depend on so many factors. We can give you some general guidelines. The answers may surprise you.

When we refer to a virus as “dying” in this article, we mean that it is no longer contagious. The virus may remain intact for a long time, but it is no longer infectious after the events described here. Industry-grade sanitizers, on the other hand, kill the virus by destroying its lipid membrane, which acts as the “skin” of the virus, whether it is contagious or not.

Viruses are different

The function and shape of viruses, as well as the time that they can survive outside of a body, are all different. We will give you some general statistics about several viruses, including the flu, noroviruses, and rhinoviruses. We know that viruses within the same family are capable of varying greatly (take the coronaviruses, for example—one can cause a cold while another can cause a pandemic). Still, we provide general statistics so you can better understand how long a particular virus can survive.

Environment Matters

Environmental factors are also important. In the summer, flu viruses can die rapidly, but in frigid winter temperatures, they may survive for many hours. For this reason, influenza is a seasonal disease.

Surface type, temperature, moisture, and whether the surface or air has been treated with antimicrobial solutions are all environmental factors that can affect how long viruses live on surfaces.

Viruses can survive on smooth, hard surfaces longer than porous, soft surfaces. A virus has a harder time surviving on your carpet than your kitchen sink.

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