Health : How long does it survive on surfaces and in the air?

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Health : How long does it survive on surfaces and in the air?

coronavirus survival on surfaces

The coronavirus has already killed more than 16,000 people worldwide, and the virus does not seem to be showing signs of slowing down as the number of infected worldwide continues to increase. And while everyone is in a hurry to wash their hands, can coronavirus contamination be done from a surface? And how long does the virus survive in the air and on different surfaces?

Coronavirus is primarily a respiratory disease and is usually spread from airborne droplets of an infected person who coughs or sneezes. Viral particles can survive for a while on surfaces depending on variable factors such as temperature and humidity. New studies suggest that coronavirus can last between three hours and three days on certain surfaces, depending on the material from which they are made.

Coronavirus is a disease that affects the respiratory tract, which means that coronavirus contamination is typically made from droplets from the cough or the sneezes of a sick person. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets that carry virus particles can land in someone’s nose or mouth or be inhaled.

Coronavirus contamination: how long does the virus survive on different surfaces?

cleaning of surfaces against coronavirus

But coronavirus contamination can sometimes happen if a person touches, for example, a surface or an object that is covered with viral particles, and then touches their nose, mouth or eyes. The life of the virus on a surface such as a pole in the subway, a stairwell or even on bills or coins, depends on many factors, including the temperature around, the humidity in air and type of surface. But the lifespan of the virus remains very approximate, according to Rachel Graha, epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina in the United States.

A new scientific study by the National Institute of Health in the United States supports Graham’s estimate. Scientific study published in ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ suggests that the virus can survive up to four hours on copper, up to one day on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel . The coronavirus can also live in the air for up to three hours, according to the study’s authors.

It is advisable to use alcohol-based products to disinfect surfaces against COVID-19

Coronavirus contamination: how to clean surfaces

How long can coronavirus survive on surfaces?

Researchers at the National Institute of Health in the United States compared the lifespan of the new coronavirus on surfaces with that of the SARS coronavirus. They found that the two coronaviruses survive longer on stainless steel and polypropylene – a type of plastic, used for toys, car parts and almost everywhere. Both viruses survive up to three hours on plastic and the new coronavirus can survive up to three days on steel. The new coronavirus can survive three times longer on cardboard than SARS: 24 hours compared to 8 for SARS.

‘The stability of SARS-CoV-2 in aerosols and on surfaces probably contributes to coronavirus contamination even in healthcare facilities,’ say the authors of the scientific study. SARS-CoV-2 is the official name for the virus.

New coronavirus can survive three times longer than SARS and up to three days on stainless steel

how is coronavirus contamination done

Another scientific study published March 1 in the Journal of Hospital Infection investigated the lifespan of other coronaviruses found in men on different surfaces. SARS coronavirus at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius can survive two days on steel, four days on wood and glass, and five days on metal, plastic and ceramic. The researchers also found that a strain of SARS can survive for up to nine days on a plastic surface in room temperature. SARS two to nine hours on aluminum and less than eight hours on latex.

According to Graham, smooth non-porous surfaces such as door handles and table surfaces transmit the virus more easily. Porous surfaces like silver, hair and tissue do not allow viruses to survive as long as on non-porous surfaces because small holes inside porous surfaces can catch microbes and prevent transmission.

‘Currencies will make the transmission of the virus easier than banknotes, but that shouldn’t be a big deal,’ she said. ‘The rule of thumb is to consider money to be dirty anyway, because it’s the truth. It goes through too many hands. ” The cell phone being made of glass and aluminum can also carry virus particles. Graham recommends disinfecting your phone and especially if you take it in the bathroom with you.

How can you clean and disinfect your home against COVID-19?

how long does the virus live

Room temperature is what makes the big difference

The journal du Journal of Hospital Infection’s scientific study has also shown that temperature spikes can make a big difference in the lifespan of the coronavirus. An increase of 8 degrees which will cause the temperature to increase from 20 to 28 degrees decreases the service life of SARS on steel surfaces with half an hour.

This is due to the fact that certain coronaviruses, including the new coronavirus, have a viral envelope: a fatty layer which protects viral particles when they do not travel from person to person in the air. This sheath can dry which also kills the virus. So the high humidity, the moderate temperature, the weak wind and the solid surfaces are all very good for the survival of the virus, according to Graham. This also explains why respiratory viruses are typically seasonal: low temperatures help harden the protective gel that envelops the surface of viral particles.

It is unlikely that coronavirus contamination can be done through postal packages

Despite the long lifespan of coronavirus on cardboard, it is unlikely that it can be contacted from a cardboard box like that of a postal package. This is due to the delivery conditions which make the survival of the coronavirus more difficult.

Home hygiene is very important during the coronavirus epidemic

home hygiene to avoid contamination

‘We know that viruses are only able to survive for a few hours to a few days under the conditions that packages are exposed to, including changes in temperature and humidity,’ says Rachel Graham. There is a very small risk of spreading the virus from products or packages that are delivered over a longer period of time such as days or weeks at room temperature.

If you still have concerns about the packages you expect to receive, Graham recommends using disinfectants or bleach to clean them. Disinfectants work within 15 seconds, but if you want to be even more careful, you can wait between 5 and 6 minutes. But this precaution does not seem necessary.

‘If we had transmission from parcels and packets delivered, we must have observed immediate global spread from China immediately after the virus appeared,’ says Elizabeth McGraw, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics ‘at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘We have not observed such a thing and for this reason the risk remains very small,’ she adds.

Door handles should be cleaned regularly to avoid coronavirus contamination

cleaning surfaces at home

How to disinfect and clean surfaces to avoid the risk of catching the coronavirus?

The first thing to know is that “cleaning” and “disinfecting” are two different things. Experts recommend doing a little of both, even if no one at home is sick. ‘Clean’ means removing contaminants from surfaces, then ‘disinfect’ means killing pathogens. It is recommended to do both whenever a person enters or leaves the house.

Person-to-person coronavirus contamination poses a much higher risk, but it is recommended to clean and disinfect regularly touched surfaces at home at least once a day if we had contact with the outside.

Scientists have found that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces like cardboard for about 24 hours, but up to two or three days on plastic and steel. So cleaning and disinfecting the most used surfaces is something we all need to do. The surfaces to be cleaned and disinfected daily to avoid coronavirus contamination are:

Coronavirus contamination: how to avoid it


-table surfaces

-the chairs

-the kitchen countertops

-the bathroom counters

-the faucets


– light switches

– the remote controls

Everyone’s house is different, so we have to think carefully about the surfaces with which we interact the most at home. Start by cleaning the surfaces by removing contaminants such as dust and debris. Then apply a disinfectant. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by using disinfectant wipes or a disinfectant spray.

If you do this every day, it’s enough and it will help lower the risk of infection for everyone at home. And if we don’t find a disinfectant, we can do the same with soap or with the cleaning products we have at home. When we buy disinfectant, we need to look at the label carefully to see the list of viruses it is effective against.

disinfectant gel against the virus

How do we go about clothes to avoid coronavirus contamination?

Most of the time, washing clothes in the washing machine is enough to clean them. Simply washing clothes with product and drying them at a slightly higher temperature than usual is enough to disinfect the clothes we have worn outside.

Make sure that you clean the surfaces with which dirty laundry comes into contact, including the basket and your hands, especially if someone at home is sick. Do it as you do for any other surface.

And for the products to eat?

There is no need to disinfect food and food. There is no evidence to suggest that packets can transmit the virus, so there is currently little need to disinfect food and food products.

How do I disinfect the computer, phone or tablet?

The computer, tablet and phone are like magnets for germs. These are surfaces that are frequently touched and carried everywhere with us, so they also need to be disinfected. Again, in this case, disinfectant wipes are the best way to clean your currency.

For phones and tablets, you can clean iPhone or Android with disinfectant wipes or an alcohol solution of at least 70 percent. The screen and buttons should be cleaned especially, and wherever there may be dust. You will also need to remove the phone or tablet shell and clean the underside and its outer side. It is recommended to do this once a day if you are not using the phone or tablet outside the house and several times a day if you are going out.

virus cleanup

Laptops aren’t always made of glass, so avoid using disinfectant wipes on the screen just in case. The screen should be cleaned with at least 70 percent isopropyl alcohol and a soft cloth. Be sure to also clean the buttons and the keyboard, the trackpad, the outside and where you put your handle on the laptop.

Most desktop computers still need to be cleaned. The best way to do this is by using a disinfectant wipe or spray with at least 70 percent alcohol and a wipe. Again, avoid cleaning the screen with disinfectant wipes and prefer isopropyl alcohol.

Coronavirus contamination: cleaning your phone

Avoid touching your face, and wash your hands

Dr. Graham puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of washing your hands and not touching your face when we are outside. These are the best ways to decrease the chance of contacting the coronavirus from surfaces. A scientific study concluded that if a person spends five seconds touching a surface where the influenza A virus lives, 32 percent of the virus on that surface will transfer to their hands.

“If you plan to eat, touch your face, play with a baby, etc., wash your hands,” she says. She also suggests washing your hands if you sneeze or cough so that the virus does not stay on your hands for too long.

Of course, the coronavirus cannot infect through our hands, so if you never touch your nose, mouth or eyes, you can avoid the infection. But that’s unfortunately easier said than done, because most of the time you don’t even notice when you touch your face.

home cleaning products

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