A lot is already known about viruses: They love cool temperatures and high humidity. Many germs also need a nutrient medium to survive. This also depends on the surface structure of the germs and the surface structure of the contaminated area.
Due to the current situation (2020), this contribution makes a major reference to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, this article is generally valid for all viruses and bacteria and provides comprehensive information about them.
Appearance of viruses and bacteria
Viruses and bacteria appear everywhere. There are not only bad bacteria, but of course there are also good and harmless ones. Here in this post we assume the bad bacteria and viruses. Contagion spots are always places where many people meet for a long period of time. Also places that are poorly cleaned or used by a large number of people. Most of them are infected with germs, viruses and bacteria in the following places:
- School, kindergarten, universities
- public transport (bus, tram, train, plane)
- Places with air conditioning
- Festivals and cinemas
- public toilets
- Supermarkets, shopping centers
The risk of infection outside these locations is quite rare, so avoiding these locations can significantly reduce the risk. But avoiding jobs and training centers in particular is not possible. For this reason, strict health measures should apply here: frequent hand washing, disinfection and do not run your fingers around your face. Good education (sneezing in the crook of the arm or at least holding out your hand) is another point in today’s society.
Lifespan of viruses, bacteria and germs
The following lifetimes are currently known from the test (source: BMC BioMed Central – Infectious Deseases, Universitätsmedizin Greifswald, Ruhr-Universität Bochum):
- 2 days: flu virus
- 7 days: Norovirus, Rhinovirus
- 9 days: Corona virus (on metal, glass, plastic, … – 5 days on average)
- 8 weeks: rotavirus
- 6 months: streptococci
- 4 years: Salmonella (regular nutrients)
Many viruses survive for several days and will not disappear voluntarily if they are not cleaned sufficiently. In winter, passengers in particular suffer from mass transport. The large number of passengers makes it impossible not to get infected with dishes. A healthy and good immune system, gloves, frequent hand washing and disinfection as well as the minimal use of these means of transport help here. In addition, the viruses survive longer in the cold, especially in winter. At sub-zero temperatures, the survival periods extend considerably.
Carrier and risk of infection of bacteria and viruses
Below is a selection of how high the risk of contamination of different surfaces is (the virus is often passed on average and can be passed on due to the amount), whereby the smear infection is discussed here:
- 6x: give hands
- 14x: door handles, telephones, smartphones, remote controls (up to 9 days)
Wash your hands
Washing hands is always a good idea, but can only prevent 40 percent of infections. A good and healthy immune system is therefore an absolute must. Note that hand washing should be done thoroughly, frequently, and for at least 20 seconds. Finger nails and the back of the hand should also be taken into account. You can measure the length of your hand washing by quickly singing Happy Birthday twice.
Disinfectants based on ethanol, sodium hypochlorite or hydrogen peroxide are currently effective against coronaviruses. This means that the number of one million corona viruses can be minimized to just 100 particles – however, contagion cannot be ruled out.
There are many different ways of looking at disinfection. Usually this only takes a few seconds to take effect. In addition, the entire surface must be cleaned with it. If spots are forgotten or not sprayed, there is no disinfectant effect. For this reason, the following questions should be asked:
- How good and thorough is the disinfection?
- What means was used for cleaning?
- How thorough was cleaning done?
A normal disinfection of vehicles takes hours, for example, but public transport is only cleaned in minutes. It can be doubted whether every seat, grab handle and the like is therefore adequately cleaned over the entire surface.
Strengthen and protect the immune system
The best protection against viruses and bacteria is of course a healthy immune system. There are two types of immune systems – the innate immune system and the learned immune system. The innate immune system is usually the stronger and can do better against viruses and bacteria (it detects all intruders). Unfortunately, this diminishes with age, making older people more at risk. On the other hand, the learned immune system can protect against known intruders faster and faster. While the innate immune system usually lasts a few days, the learned immune system can intervene immediately. For example, it can be explained that children are infected with flu viruses much more often than adults, or that it takes longer to heal. This can also explain the increased death rate of corona (unknown virus) in older people.
Special for Corona
Also read the blog articles that were created especially about Corona. This includes correct behavior and preparation in corona times on cruise ships and protection against corona in public transport.