How long can flu bugs survive on that doorknob?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters door green

Internist Dr. James Steckelberg from Mayo Clinic answers this common question about the upcoming flu season:

Q: If someone has the flu or a cold and coughs into his hand and then touches a doorknob, how long can those germs live on that doorknob?

A:  The length of time that cold or flu germs can survive outside the body on an environmental surface, such as a doorknob, varies greatly. But the suspected range is from a few seconds to 48 hours — depending on the specific virus and the type of surface. 

Flu viruses live longer on surfaces than cold viruses do. Also, it’s generally believed that cold and flu viruses live longer on non-porous surfaces — such as plastic, metal or wood — than they do on porous surfaces — such as fabrics, skin or paper.

handshaking buttonAlthough cold and flu viruses primarily spread from person-to-person contact, you can also become infected from contact with contaminated surfaces. The best way to avoid becoming infected with a cold or flu is to wash your hands frequently with soap and hot water or with an alcohol-based sanitizer.  And don’t shake hands during flu season.

Get some creative ideas for handshaking alternatives from NPR. Or get creeped out by all the nasty germs on those waiting room magazines . . .

And then go clean your doorknobs . . .

Resources: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

4 thoughts on “How long can flu bugs survive on that doorknob?

  1. Carolyn’s note to readers: This comment has been removed because it was a blatant commercial attempt to sell you stuff.


  2. I’m SO happy you included this! You must have read my mind. I have developed a case of germaphobia or mysophobia (whichever you prefer). I started when I discovered I had Lyme Disease, since I had my stents I have become a bit worse. I guess it’s because I fear what germs can do to me, so my being cautious has turned into a phobia. I have been searching for the exact information you have above. Thank you so much!!! Has anyone else become a bit more cautious with germs? Please say I’m NOT alone…LOL


  3. Pingback: swine-flu-influenza-virus

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