7 Simple Ways to Stay Healthy and Ward Off Illness

How Long Can Bacteria and Viruses Survive on Surfaces?

Bacteria and viruses are everywhere, and they can make us sick. However, how long can they actually survive outside of the body on surfaces? It’s a critical question that depends on various factors, including temperature, humidity, and surface type. In this article, we will discuss the survival time of some infamous microorganisms, their “likes” and “dislikes,” and what we can do to avoid these nasty germs from thriving.

The Survival Period of Bacteria and Viruses

One of the most notorious viruses out there, the influenza virus, can last up to 24 hours on hard surfaces like plastic and metal, up to 15 minutes on skin or clothing, and up to 48 hours on nonporous surfaces such as glass. Rhinovirus, responsible for the common cold, also enjoys cold environments and can survive on hard surfaces for up to three days. Another dangerous bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, famously known as “staph,” can last up to 24 hours on a stainless-steel surface, while Salmonella typhi, which spreads typhoid fever, can survive up to a month in favorable conditions.

Factors Affecting the Survival of Germs on Surfaces

Several elements affect bacteria and virus survival on surfaces, including temperature, humidity, and surface type. For example, cold temperatures and moist environments are optimal for bacteria and virus survival as they slow down dehydration and prolong lifespan. On the other hand, high temperatures and low humidity can kill bacteria and viruses faster. Unsurprisingly, porous surfaces like fabrics or paper are probably better at trapping and holding onto microorganisms than non-porous surfaces. It’s important to note that bacteria and viruses can also accumulate on surfaces through droplets from coughs or sneezes, making thorough cleaning a must.

Kitchen Utensils as a Potential Source Of Bacteria

The kitchen is often the first place to fight against viruses in our homes. There is a high risk of bacteria and viruses festering on improperly cleaned utensils and equipment, leading to health problems. In particular, cutting boards are prone to develop grooves where germs can hide and grow. We also need to ensure that our hands are washed correctly before preparing food, eating or drinking.

How to Avoid Nasty Germs From Thriving on Surfaces

There are numerous ways to reduce the risk of viral and bacterial infections. Here are some measures to consider;

Clean your surroundings frequently: Regular cleaning and disinfecting surfaces will help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. You should particularly disinfect surfaces that see frequent finger-touching, such as light switches, door handles, and keyboards.

Avoid crowded places (if possible): In crowded places, the risk of getting infected is higher because there is a higher possibility of coming into contact with contaminated surfaces, air, and people. Work from home if you can and avoid public gatherings if you’re not feeling well.

Wash your hands frequently: One of the most significant measures to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses is handwashing. Make sure you wash your hands correctly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Wear a mask: When in crowded places, wearing a mask can help prevent inhaling or exhaling droplets that may be infected with bacteria and viruses.

Avoid touching your face: With our hands, we can easily pick up bacteria and viruses, and touching our faces can spread the germs to the mouth, nose, or eyes. It’s essential to keep your hands away from your face to avoid infection.

Final Thoughts

Bacteria and viruses are widespread, and they can make us sick if they’re allowed to survive and thrive on surfaces. Although we can’t completely avoid them, we can and should take measures to prevent bacterial and viral infections. Regular cleanings, washing our hands correctly, and avoiding crowded places when possible are key. We can all do our part to reduce the spread of germs and, in turn, prevent infections.