What is commonly known as the flu virus could be caused by upwards of 200 viruses that all produce similar flu-like symptoms. These viruses are transferred through contact with microbes.
Microbes could exist anywhere but have a preference for nonporous surfaces. When an infected person sneezes for instance, surfaces within a radius of 3 feet are susceptible to microbes. The flu virus is contracted by exposure to these viral microbes. The most common form of exposure is by person-to-person contact, but it is possible to become infected by contact with the contaminated surface.
So, how long can the flu virus live on surfaces? To predict the lifespan of a virus is difficult but is estimated at anywhere between a few seconds and 48 hours. This, however, is purely an educated guess. There have been cases of microbes having survived hundreds of years. In practical terms, the lifespan largely depends on the hardiness of the specific virus, the type of surface and the prevailing environment. Viruses need certain conditions to survive and proliferate. Microbes need a minimum humidity for survival. Neither bacteria nor virus can survive in a humidity of under 10 percent. Bacteria can reproduce on their own whereas viruses need a host without which they are unable to reproduce. This is an added factor for the shortened lifespan of a virus on the surface.
After contracting a flu infection, the period of illness and its severity cannot be predicted and largely depends on the immunity of the infected person. Washing one's hands frequently is the best way of keeping a cold or flu in avoidance.
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