Bacterial microorganism under a magnifying glass

The United States is currently in the middle of cold and flu season, with many facilities increasing their disinfecting frequencies.

Commonly touched objects and surfaces such as doorknobs, computer keyboards and coffee pot handles should be disinfected at least daily, especially in high-traffic areas. Although viruses like influenza may be able to survive on surfaces for days, the good news is that they are not infectious for that long.

According to an article on PBS News Hour, influenza viruses may actually only have an infectious lifespan of less than half a day based on a 2011 study. Research conducted virologist Dr. Jane Greatorex at Public Health England found that viable viruses were no longer found on most non-porous metal and plastic surfaces, such as aluminum and computer keyboards after nine hours. On porous items, like clothes and wooden surfaces, viable viruses disappeared after only four hours.

The infectious lifespan for the common cold is harder nail down, but research shows that most cold viruses are no longer infectious after 24 hours on hard surfaces and even less on soft surfaces.

To learn more about the areas in need of frequent disinfecting, especially during cold and flu season, click here.