There are so many germs and bacteria swirling about our existence and even more ways to catch and spread them. Some are harmless, even good, and many others are dangerous. Have you ever considered the ways that it’s possible to transmit germs and bacteria? There are countless possibilities. With so much attention on contagious viruses and disease, “how long can germs live on surfaces?” is now a likely question to ponder. It’s worthwhile to be aware of the lifespan of germs and bacteria as virtually every surface is a potential place to transport them.

Cold Germs

Common cold germs can be provoked by a number of viruses. They can live for days on nonporous, hard surfaces but only stay infectious for 24 hours. They can flourish on skin also but usually only survive minutes or hours.

Influenza Germs

Similar to cold germs, influenza germs can survive on hard surfaces and in the air as droplets for up to 24 hours. Lasting for about 15 minutes, they cling to tissue but fade quickly on hands. Washing hands with warm, soapy water often can help to reduce your risk.

Norovirus Germs

Norovirus germs are the worst. This contagious virus can cause vomiting or diarrhea and spread through the air as small droplets before landing on surface like light switches, tables or clothing. They don’t last as long on porous materials like tissue or cloth but can survive in advantageous conditions on hard surfaces for days or weeks.

It’s important to recognize what disinfecting means and how germs and bacteria are transmitted. There is a difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. Cleaning focuses on removing visible dirt and debris from a surface; sanitizing includes making an area safe again by reducing levels of bacteria and viruses; and disinfecting is the elimination of bacteria and viruses. Harmful pathogens responsible for contagious and harmful viruses and disease are only able to be passed on by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. By keeping your hands clean and not touching your face after touching other surfaces that may have germs or bacteria living on them, you are able to reduce your chances of transmission.

With the need and sometimes requirement to disinfect and sanitize places and surfaces, its important to keep in mind that over disinfecting or sanitizing can have the opposite desired effect and cause germs and bacteria to grow a resistance to solutions meant to dispel them. Keeping in mind the lifespan of certain germs and bacteria can help to guide you in maintaining a safe and healthy interior.

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