How long do COVID viruses live outside the body?

COVID virus spreads via droplets from infected people when they cough or sneeze.  Each cough or sneeze produces more than 3,000 droplets filled with the virus and can project to around 1 metre from the person.  As such, it is important to practice good cough or sneeze etiquette to prevent spreading your infection to other people.

Click to view CDC video on How to Sneeze

During the COVID virus pandemic, Social Distancing (https://blog.teleme.co/2020/03/23/social-distancing-and-personal-hygiene-to-prevent-spread-of-virus/) is VERY IMPORTANT to prevent disease spread AND also reduce the risk of you getting the infection from other people.  If you are sick with flu symptoms, you must WEAR A MASK to prevent spreading your infection to other people.  If you are elderly or with low immune system or pregnant, it is also advisable to wear a mask when you in a crowded area. 

Virus usually die when exposed to sunlight when the droplets dry up.  However, it is believed that the virus can survive longer on different surfaces listed below. 

  • Air (up to 3 hours)
  • Cardboard (up to 24 hours)
  • Copper surface (up to 4 hours)
  • Plastic or metal surface like door handles, banisters or lift buttons (up to 2-3 days)

Click to view VOA video on How long can Coronavirus live on different surfaces

As such, you are advised to clean your working surfaces like your table or kitchen regularly using soap and water or disinfectant with around 70% alcohol content or 0.5% hydrogen peroxide.  In addition, you should wash your hands regular with soap and water for 20 seconds (or use alcohol based hand rub when you do not have access to soap and water).  Try to AVOID TOUCHING your face, nose, mouth or eyes because this is how the virus can infect you. (https://blog.teleme.co/2020/03/26/how-to-practice-personal-hygiene-for-covid-19/)

Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. 

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or other professional healthcare providers. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

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