The flu virus is the holiday guest who stays for a couple days

The flu virus can live on surfaces — and potentially infect people — for 48 hours.

The flu virus can live on surfaces like doorknobs and tables — and potentially infect people — for 48 hours, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With flu making its way around the Louisville and Southern Indiana area just as family and friends are gathering for the holidays, it’s an important time to stay on top of cleaning.

Flu viruses are relatively fragile, according to the CDC. Standard cleaning with a disinfectant will remove or kill them. Aggressive measures such as wiping down walls or frequent use of room deodorizers with disinfectants are not necessary and can cause irritation and aggravate asthma.

Flu Treatment When You Need It

Norton Healthcare has convenient options for flu symptom treatment in kids and adults, including 24/7 access to a provider in person or online.

Get Better

Heat above 167 F (water boils at 212 F) will kill the flu virus. Common household cleaning products containing any chlorine; hydrogen peroxide; soap or detergent; iodine-based antiseptics; or alcohols will kill the flu virus.

If you are caring for someone with the flu, be sure to wash your hands after touching the patient as well as after cleaning up tissues or laundry.

How the Flu Spreads

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or can be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person may touch a surface contaminated with the flu virus, then touch their mouth, nose or eyes.

Someone with the flu is most contagious for the first three to four days after they become sick. That’s the peak, though. Adults can infect others a day before symptoms are apparent and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Young children and people with weakened immune systems are contagious for longer.

More Flu Coverage

Dry cough in kids and other coughs explained

Tips from a nurse on how to prevent the flu

Is it the flu or a stomach bug?

Is it a cold or the flu?

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