How long can a virus live outside a body? © Getty Images

How long can a virus live outside a body?

It's enough to make you sick! Viruses can be stubborn little blighters to get rid of.

Asked by: Chaudhary Nikul, India

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Viruses can live for a surprisingly long time outside of a body, depending on conditions such as moisture and temperature. They tend to live longer on water-resistant surfaces, such as stainless steel and plastics.

A cold virus can sometimes survive on indoor surfaces for several days, although its ability to cause infection drops dramatically over time.

Flu viruses can survive in the air for several hours, especially at lower temperatures, and on hard surfaces they can survive and remain infectious for 24 hours.

Enteric viruses, such as norovirus (pictured) and hepatitis A, can survive for weeks on a surface if conditions are suitable. The norovirus is known for causing sickness outbreaks in schools, cruise ships and hospitals.


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