How long do bacteria and viruses live in your home

How long do bacteria and viruses live in your home

These "uninvited guests" are everywhere, but do not panic.

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On each square centimeter of skin there are up to 100 thousand microorganisms. When we sneeze, droplets of liquid with bacteria and viruses fly almost a meter.

"The life span of a micro-organism depends on many factors," says Philip Tierno, a microbiologist at new York University. - Viruses need to get into the cell of another organism in order to reproduce. Therefore, they live less outside of it than bacteria. Although they still survive on various home surfaces. Bacteria are able to reproduce outside the body, so they live longer."

The lifespan of microbes is affected by humidity and temperature.

No bacteria or virus can survive on dry surfaces with less than 10% humidity. They actively reproduce in the presence of any nutrients: food particles, skin cells, blood, mucus. Therefore, a sponge for washing dishes is a fertile soil for the life of microorganisms.

Mesophilic bacteria, which include the tuberculosis-causing Koch's Bacillus, reproduce best at room temperature. That's why they live longer than cold-loving or heat-loving microorganisms. E. coli at room temperature and normal humidity lives from a few hours to a day. This bacterium can occur in ground meat and causes food poisoning. Calicivirus, which causes intestinal flu, lives for several days or even weeks. But HIV in the open air dies almost instantly.

To survive adverse conditions, some microorganisms form a dense shell.

This state of bacteria is called spore. As spores, the bacteria can withstand extreme temperatures and humidity.

For example, the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, which causes infectious and toxic shock, food poisoning and wound infections, does this. According to Tierno, Staphylococcus spores survive on dry clothing for several weeks, feeding on the remaining skin particles on it. And anthrax Bacillus-the causative agent of anthrax-in the form of spores lives for tens or even hundreds of years.

But don't panic. To protect yourself, wash your hands more often. This significantly reduces the risk of getting infected with something. Regularly wipe with disinfectants especially dangerous surfaces: door handles, kitchen tables, sink.