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How long can H1N1 virus survive on surfaces

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    Posted: July 14 2010 at 12:03pm
How long do H1N1 flu virus germs survive on surfaces outside the body?

The boundary between facts and legends about the swine flu (H1N1) virus seems to be very thin. Many people believe myths and have difficulties identifying trustworthy information about the virus and the manner in which it spreads.

Most people are aware of the fact that the swine flu virus can survive on surfaces outside the body. Confusion starts when individuals look for information about the time that H1N1 can remain vital outside the human body.

H1N1 spreads in droplets of body fluids. The most certain way to get infected involves contact with a sick person. The virus spreads after sneezing or coughing.

Infection occurs whenever the virus gets access to the mouth, nose or eyes.

Apart from a direct infection, H1N1 can enter the body after someone touches an infected surface. The droplets can fall on tables, keyboards, door knobs and numerous other inanimate objects touched on a daily basis.

According to University of Calgary experts, H1N1 can survive at most 24 hours on a surface outside the human body. The best environment includes hard surfaces like plastic, wood and metal.

In cases of droplets falling on soft surfaces like tissues and clothing, H1N1ís life is seriously diminished. The virus can survive from eight to 12 hours in the case of a soft surface.

What matters in such instances is the ability of the virus to cause an infection. This period differs significantly from the amount of time it can live on surfaces outside the human body. When it comes to hard surfaces, the virus can cause an infection for up to eight hours after being deposited. In the case of a soft surface, infection can happen only within several minutes. Once this period ends, the H1N1 virus becomes harmless.

According to Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan (MSCHP), the exact period of time that the virus can remain active on a contaminated surface is uncertain. Researchers have concludes that it can survive for up to two hours on surfaces like tables, doorknobs and other hard objects.

The exact time period that H1N1 can remain active and dangerous on surfaces outside the body seems to be undetermined. Medics offer contradicting information. The one fact known with certainty is that H1N1 has the power to survive for a longer period of time on hard surfaces.

The one thing that can be done to minimize the danger is maintaining impeccable personal hygiene. To ensure that no infection will take place, a person needs to wash hands before each meal, after going out and after touching shared objects (for example at the office or in a public building).

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are used by many people is another good option to diminish the chances of infection.
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