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Flu / Cold / SARS

Coronaviruses: How long on surfaces can they survive?



A recent paper investigates how long coronaviruses can live on different surface types. The virus appears to survive longer under colder, more humid conditions, it says. Interestingly, the authors wonder how we could kill coronaviruses.

Electron micrograph of the coronavirus that caused SARS.
Electron micrograph of the coronavirus that caused SARS.

Currently officially known as COVID-19, the novel coronavirus has been making headlines since it first came to light, late in 2019. The COVID-19 spread from China to 23 other countries and has now infected 45,171 people.

Because this strain of the coronavirus is new to science, researchers are struggling to understand how infections can be handled and how to ensure that the virus does not spread.

Because there are no clear COVID-19 therapies, a lot of experts concentrate on prevention.

Previously, scientists at the Greifswald University Hospital and Ruhr-Universität Bochum, both in Germany, gathered information from 22 coronavirus studies. Our research helps us to understand how long coronaviruses live on surfaces, and how they can be destroyed by humans.

The authors initially compiled the information for inclusion in an upcoming textbook; however, author Eike Steinmann explains that “the best approach, under the circumstances, was to publish these verified scientific facts in advance to make all information available at a glance.”

Their work, published in The Journal of Hospital Infection, focuses on coronaviruses that are responsible for two of the most recent outbreaks: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and respiratory syndrome in the Middle East (MERS).

Their paper also draws evidence from research investigating veterinary coronaviruses, such as transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), mouse hepatitis, and canine coronavirus.

How long do coronaviruses persist?

The first section of the new paper focuses on how long coronaviruses, such as tables and door handles, can survive on inanimate surfaces. The authors show that human coronaviruses can remain infectious from 2 hours to 9 days, depending on the substance and the circumstances.

Other variants of the coronavirus may remain viable for up to 28 days at temperatures of around 4 ° C or 39.2oF. The coronaviruses appeared to survive for a shorter time at temperatures of 30–40 ° C (86–104 ° F).

At room temperature, a common cold coronavirus (HCoV-229E) persisted significantly longer at 50 per cent moisture than 30% moisture. The writers say, on the whole:

“Human coronaviruses can stay infectious for up to 9 days at room temperature on inanimate surfaces. The persistence duration is shorter at a temperature of 30 ° C[ 86 ° F] or greater. Veterinary coronaviruses have been shown to persist even longer for 28 d[ays].”

The results were variable when the scientists delved into the literature about the persistence of coronaviruses on different surfaces. The MERS virus, for example, persisted over a steel surface at 20 ° C (68 ° F) for 48 hours. But TGEV lived for up to 28 days on a similar surface and at the same temperature.

Similarly, the survival of two SARS coronavirus strains on a paper surface was investigated by two studies. Another lived for 4–5 days, and the other only for 3 hours.

How to inactivate coronavirus

The authors address the best way of inactivating coronaviruses in the next section of their paper.

We conclude that coronaviruses are quickly and effectively inactivated by agents like hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, and sodium hypochlorite (a chemical in bleach).

The authors, for example, write that”[ h]ydrogen peroxide was effective with a concentration of 0.5 percent and an incubation time of 1 minute.”

“Surface disinfection with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 62–71% ethanol significantly reduces coronavirus infectivity on surfaces within 1 min[ute] exposure time.”

Conversely, benzalkonium chloride solutions provided conflicting results; and chlorhexidine digluconate, which people use as a topical antiseptic, has been ineffective.

The authors write that”[ t]transmission in healthcare settings can be successfully prevented by regularly taking appropriate steps.” Especially handwashing is important.

They describe how, in Taiwan, “the installation of hand wash stations in the emergency department was the only infection control measure significantly associated with the protection from the acquisition of the[ SARS coronavirus] from health care workers.”

While COVID-19 was not examined in the studies the authors summarize in this study, they believe the results are also likely to be relevant for this new coronavirus. All the human coronaviruses investigated by the research appear to be susceptible to the same chemical agents.

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Flu / Cold / SARS

Symptoms, causes, and treatment of head cold



A common cold, often known as a head cold, is a viral infection of the nose and throat. Although it is usually a mild sickness, the symptoms can have a substantial influence on daily activities.

The average adult gets two to three colds per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and children may get more.

This article examines the signs and symptoms of a head cold, as well as a variety of home remedies for alleviating symptoms.

What is it?

head cold

Head colds are caused by viruses. They are normally harmless and go gone on their own. They can, however, cause unpleasant symptoms in certain people.

Head colds can be mistaken for other illnesses such as chest colds and sinus infections. There are, nevertheless, some major distinctions.

Sinus infection vs. head cold

When a viral infection causes symptoms mostly in the head, such as a stuffy nose or a headache, it is known as a head cold.

Bacteria can grow in the sinuses, the hollow areas around the nose, producing a sinus infection if fluid builds up there.

Many of the symptoms of sinus infections are similar to those of head colds, such as a runny nose and cough. Infections of the sinuses can also cause facial pain and pressure.

Viruses, including head colds, can cause sinus infections.

Head cold vs. chest cold

When the symptoms of a cold impact the head, including the nose and throat, it is known as a head cold.

When the airways swell and mucus builds up in the lungs, it’s called a chest cold or acute bronchitis. When this happens, a person often has a loose, chesty cough that includes coughing up some mucus. Coughing in this manner aids in the clearing of the airways.

A chest cold normally clears up in three weeks.

Colds in the head and chest are caused by viruses. A head cold can quickly progress to a chest cold.

Colds in the head and chest can have a variety of symptoms:

Common head cold symptomsCommon chest cold symptoms
coughing, runny nose, and sneezingcoughing often with mucus
sore throatsore throat
body achesbody aches, including chest soreness

A person may, however, have a combination of these symptoms.


A head cold can be caused by a variety of viruses, including:

Colds in the head are extremely contagious. When a person with a head cold sneezes or coughs, virus-laden droplets can fly through the air and infect others.

It is possible to get a head cold after coming into contact with surfaces or objects that have been touched by someone who has been infected with the virus. The virus can get into a person’s body through their eyes, mouth, or nose.


After being exposed to rhinovirus or another cold-causing virus, symptoms of a head cold occur 1 to 3 days later. These signs and symptoms differ from person to person and include:

Most symptoms can be relieved in as little as one week for some people. However, some people may have symptoms for a longer period of time.

Risk factors

Although anyone can have a head cold, and most people will get several colds throughout their lifetime, there are specific characteristics that enhance the risk of being unwell. These are some of them:

  • exposure to other people with head colds, particularly schoolchildren
  • having a weakened immune system
  • the season, as colds are more common in fall and winter
  • being under the age of 5
  • smoking


The majority of people will recover from a head cold without any difficulties. When issues do occur, they include the following:

  • Asthma attack: In asthmatics, a cold can induce an asthma attack.
  • Acute sinusitis: A persistent head cold can lead to sinusitis, a condition characterised by inflammation and infection of the sinuses.
  • Ear infection (otitis media): An ear infection can occur if the virus enters the area beneath the eardrum.
  • Other infections: Following a head cold, certain people, particularly youngsters and those with compromised immune systems, might develop secondary infections. Strep throat, pneumonia, and croup are common secondary diseases linked with a head cold that require medical attention.


Antibiotics are useless since a head cold is caused by a viral infection. Rather, treatment tries to control symptoms and alleviate suffering.

The following are some common home cures for a head cold:

  • Rest: Resting aids the body’s healing process. Staying at home instead of going to work or school decreases the risk of spreading the illness to others.
  • Hydration: Staying hydrated aids in the relief of congestion in the nose and sinuses while also calming the throat. Staying hydrated can be as simple as drinking water or diluted juice. Warm drinks, such as teas, broths, and soups, may be very useful. Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided until a person is fully recovered.
  • Saltwater gargle: A person can gargle with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 8 ounces of warm water to relieve a sore throat.
  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter (OTC) drugs can help with headaches, sore throats, and fevers. Some of medications, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.. When providing medicines to children, always follow the directions on the package.
  • Humidifiers or vaporizers: Coughing and congestion are relieved by using these devices, which add moisture to the air. Using a vaporizer or humidifier at night may help you sleep better. To prevent the growth of bacteria and mould, vaporizers and humidifiers should be cleaned on a daily basis.
  • Nasal sprays: Saline nasal sprays are safe for both children and adults and can help release mucus in the nose. Adults can take nasal decongestant sprays for up to three days. People should avoid using decongestant sprays for an extended period of time since it can lead to addiction or rebound congestion.
  • Supplements: To prevent or treat a head cold, many people use vitamins. Vitamin C, Echinacea, and zinc are among the most popular supplements. However, there is little evidence that taking supplements helps to alleviate symptoms.


Although there is no way to prevent a head cold, the methods outlined below can help lower the risk of catching the virus. They may be especially important for people who are immunocompromised:

  • Stay away from infected people. To avoid contracting a head cold, keep a safe distance from someone who has one.
  • Hands should be washed frequently. Transmission of the virus is reduced by thoroughly cleansing hands with soap and hot water. Hand sanitizer with alcohol is also effective.
  • Items should not be shared. Avoid sharing glasses or utensils with others to avoid spreading cold germs.
  • When family members are sick, use disinfectant. When a family member is unwell, disinfect the kitchen counters and bathroom fixtures. It is also important to clean children’s toys on a regular basis.
  • Cough or sneeze into tissues. Germs are prevented from spreading via the air by using tissues. After sneezing or coughing, throw away used tissues right away and always wash your hands.
  • Make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting regular exercise, lowering stress, and getting enough sleep can all help the immune system fight off illness.
  • Instill healthy hygiene habits in your children. Request that youngsters sneeze or cough into a tissue or the crook of their elbow to avoid using their hands to cover their lips. Encourage children to thoroughly wash their hands on a frequent basis.

When to consult your doctor

If a person or a kid experiences any of the following symptoms, they should see a doctor:

  • symptoms lasting longer than 10 days
  • severe or unusual symptoms
  • flu symptoms, including:
    • fever
    • chills
    • muscle or body aches

If a child younger than 3 months old has a fever or appears sluggish, contact a doctor very away.


Although there is no cure for a head cold, there are a number of home treatments that can help relieve symptoms and suffering. A person can take precautions to avoid contracting a cold by limiting their exposure to viruses that cause colds.

A person suffering from a head cold might expect to recover in 7–10 days. Individuals who have severe or persistent symptoms of a head cold should see a doctor.


A head cold can result from exposure to a variety of viruses, the most common of which being rhinoviruses. A runny nose, headaches, and cough are all signs of a head cold.

Colds in the head aren’t dangerous and normally go away on their own. Rest, staying hydrated, and taking over-the-counter cold drugs can all help to alleviate symptoms.

Colds in the head are highly contagious and can be transferred by coughing or sneezing.



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Flu / Cold / SARS

What is the flu recovery timeline?



Many sources treat the common cold and the flu as interchangeable terms, but the flu is frequently more severe than the common cold. Although most people with the flu recover in about a week, if complications arise, the sickness can persist longer.

For several days, a person with the flu may be unable to work, conduct home activities, or care for children. Some people get severe symptoms and may need to be admitted to the hospital.

We’ll go over how long the flu normally lasts, a chronology of the most common symptoms, and when to see a doctor for treatment in this post.

When to consult your doctor

flu symptoms

People should aim to contact a doctor within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, as this is when antiviral medications are most effective.

It’s also important to contact a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve after 7 days or if you develop new ones, such as ear pain.

If you are experiencing any of the following people, you should seek immediate medical attention:

  • Breathing becomes hard or difficult.
  • Muscle pain is intolerable or severe enough to make walking impossible.
  • A fever of more than 104°F develops in a youngster.
  • When a child or infant breathes, they produce loud noises or pull on the muscles around their ribcage.
  • A person has seizures, loss of consciousness, confusion, or inability to speak properly .
  • A fever occurs in a newborn under the age of 12 weeks.
  • Chronic medical issues cause symptoms to worsen.
  • The dizziness is severe and does not subside after a few hours.
  • A person stops urinating or only urinates once in a while.
  • Symptoms improve for a while, then return and become worse.

How long?

Symptoms normally continue 3–7 days in people who do not develop major flu complications. Some people notice that their symptoms improve and then deteriorate, or that they are worse at specific times of day, such as in the morning.

Although the fever and the most severe symptoms usually go away within a week, some people can have poor energy for up to two weeks, and a cough can last up to eight weeks.

The flu vaccination lessens but does not eliminate the risk of acquiring the flu. People who catch the flu after getting a vaccination, on the other hand, tend to have milder symptoms that linger for a shorter amount of time.

Antiviral medications like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) can also help to shorten the duration of the flu and reduce the risk of catastrophic consequences.

Symptoms may continue longer in infants and young children, older individuals, and people with respiratory disorders. These people are also more likely to develop significant flu symptoms including pneumonia and breathing problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu causes roughly 200,000 people in the United States to visit the hospital each year.

Complications from the flu are unlikely to go away on their own and can turn into a medical emergency. It is possible that they will necessitate a person to stay in the hospital. A person’s recovery from acute flu complications might take weeks or even months.

Timeline, signs and symptoms

Unlike the symptoms of the common cold and other viruses, which appear gradually, flu symptoms appear suddenly. A person may go from feeling normal to having a fever and other symptoms in a few of hours.

With the flu, a high temperature is more likely than with a cold, and it generally emerges before other symptoms.

The following are the most common flu symptoms:

  • a dry cough
  • a sore throat
  • vomiting
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • weakness and extreme exhaustion
  • congestion
  • high fever

Between days 2 and 4, the symptoms usually peak. Some people start to feel better by day five. Only a few people are able to return to work or education.

After a fever has broken, however, it is important to stay at home for the next 24 hours. Stay at home if your temperature is only relieved by anti-fever medicines.

On day 7, the majority of people are feeling much better, however some are still sick. It’s very uncommon for the flu to last more than a week, so a prolonged recovery isn’t always a bad thing. However, if the symptoms persist after a week, it’s probably advisable to contact a doctor.


An antiviral flu medicine is the finest and most effective treatment for the flu. Taking this medication within two days after becoming ill may help to decrease the duration of the flu and prevent complications.

Before using any anti-flu medicine, a person should consult with a doctor to assess the risks and benefits. Because some people encounter adverse effects when using anti-flu medications, it’s important to notify your doctor about any previous health problems or drug responses.

Antibiotics are ineffective against the flu. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections, and the flu is a virus.

Some people, however, acquire secondary illnesses as a result of the flu. Ear infections are more common in children, but they can also affect adults. If your symptoms suddenly alter or worsen, it could be a sign of a new infection, either viral or bacterial.

How to aid recovery

The strategies listed below can aid in the healing process:

  • Staying in bed and resting.
  • Avoid going to work, school, or anywhere else because the flu can be spread.
  • Drinking a lot of water. To avoid dehydration, take an electrolyte drink if you have a fever or vomiting.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Hand washing should be done often to prevent the infection from spreading to other family members.


The majority of people who catch the flu will experience symptoms for 3 to 7 days. If difficulties arise, they may be hospitalised for a longer period of time.

Every year, the flu kills thousands of people. Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are all more susceptible to flu complications. People who have the flu should rest and stay away from public places until their symptoms subside.

Even major issues can be recovered with rest and medical attention. Anyone experiencing severe flu symptoms should seek medical attention. Every year, a person can obtain a flu shot to lower their risk of contracting the virus.



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Flu / Cold / SARS

How to get rid of a cold: Natural treatments, prevention, and medication



A viral infection in the upper airways, sinuses, throat, and nose causes the common cold. It is normally not a cause for concern, despite the fact that it is uncomfortable.

A cold is a self-limiting infection in the vast majority of cases, despite feeling poorly with sneezing, sore throat, cough, and runny nose. This means it gets better on its own without requiring specific treatment.

The majority of people recover in one week, while it may take longer in some circumstances.

In this article, we’ll look at how to manage cold symptoms and find some relief.


When people have a cold, they tend to sweat and have runny noses, which can cause severe dehydration. This fluid loss must be restored on a regular basis. Water is the best beverage.

If you have a cold, you should drink a lot of water. Keep in mind that coffee and caffeinated sodas might dehydrate you, so cause them.

Chicken soup

Chicken soup, according to experts, can help reduce the symptoms of a cold. It is thought to slow the movement of neutrophils, which are immune system cells that cause inflammation, as well as mucus.

Chicken soup is also a good source of water, which can aid with dehydration.


getting enough of rest

Not only will getting enough of rest help to alleviate some of the symptoms and make people feel better, but it may also shorten the duration of their cold. Rest aids the immune system’s ability to combat the viral infection.


Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial illnesses. Viruses cause colds, which do not react to antibiotics. Antibiotics will not help patients recover faster, nor will they prevent them from spreading the infection on to others.

Fear of consequences, according to a BMJ article, is not a good enough reason to prescribe antibiotics for the common cold. However, it adds that, “as far as the elderly are concerned, antibiotics do greatly lower the risk of pneumonia following a chest infection.”


Echinacea, often known as purple coneflower, is a wild flower endemic to North America. It is used as a herbal treatment by indigenous peoples for a range of ailments and problems. Studies have shown contradictory results, and they continue to do so.

According to a 2007 study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the herbal cure cut the length of a cold by an average of 1.4 days and reduced the risk of developing a cold by 58%.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine, on the other hand, revealed in Annals of Internal Medicine that Echinacea had no effect on the common cold, and that it only shortens the duration of symptoms “by half a day at most.”

Inhalation of steam

The steam may help to relieve congestion problems. For a typical steam inhalation, follow these steps:

  • Fill a pan halfway with water and bring to a boil.
  • Place the pan on a stable table and cover it with a cloth or heat-resistant mat.
  • Patients can sit with their heads over the pan and a cloth over their shoulders.
  • Close your eyes and take a deep breath.
  • Make sure there’s no steam in your eyes.

Steam inhalation should not be used with tiny children because to the risk of scorching. Standing close to a hot shower and inhaling the steam may be beneficial to little children.


In order to avoid the transmission of infection, good cleanliness is important. When you’re sick, avoid going to work or school.

When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with a tissue and toss it away as soon as possible. Make care to properly wash your hands with soap and warm water.

If there are no tissues available and a person coughs or sneezes, doctors recommend coughing or sneezing into the inner region of the elbow, which does not contaminate surfaces.

Salt water

Salt water

Gargling with a solution of one-quarter teaspoon salt dissolved in 8 ounces warm water may provide brief relief from sore throat symptoms. A saline solution can relieve pain by drawing excess fluid from inflammatory tissues in the back of the throat. Thick mucus may also relax and become simpler to remove.

Nasal saline drops – available at pharmacies, these may aid in the relief of nasal congestion in young babies. Gargling with nasal saline drops instead of salt solutions could be beneficial (getting babies and very young children to gargle is virtually impossible).

Vitamin C

Vitamin C’s effects on the common cold were investigated in a Cochrane analysis published in 2013. The study found that people who took at least 200 mg of vitamin C per day experienced a reduction in the duration of their symptoms. They discovered that taking

Steam inhalation should not be used with tiny children because to the risk of scorching. Standing close to a hot shower and inhaling the steam may be beneficial to little children.


Previous research on the effects of zinc for treating colds has yielded conflicting results. According to the majority of favourable studies, zinc should be administered within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms.

Zinc appears to perform better in adults than in youngsters, according to Canadian researchers, who also noted that side effects, particularly when higher amounts are used, are common. Permanent anosmia, or the inability to smell, is a major side effect. It’s important to know what kind of zinc you’re taking and how much you’re taking before you start using it.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C’s effects on the common cold were investigated in a Cochrane analysis published in 2013. The study found that people who took at least 200 mg of vitamin C per day experienced a reduction in the duration of their symptoms. They discovered that taking Vitamin C after the symptoms started had little benefit.

C after the symptoms started had little benefit.

Treatment for fever and pain

Pain relievers and antipyretics (fever-reducing medications) may be beneficial. Although a high temperature is undesirable, a low fever is beneficial since it aids the body’s ability to fight diseases more quickly. Viruses and bacteria have a harder time reproducing when the body temperature rises. Doctors no longer advocate attempting to reduce a minor fever, with the exception of extremely young patients.

Antipyretics, on the other hand, are usually fine if patients are irritated and uncomfortable. Only elderly adults, not children or young adults, should use aspirin.

Fever and pain are well treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. For the exact dosage and timing for these medications, see a doctor or a licenced pharmacist. Overmedication can cause in liver damage or failure, as well as renal damage or failure.

Air humidifers

An air humidifier will assist keep the throat and nasal passages moist throughout the cold months when central heating dries out the air.


Previous research on the effects of zinc for treating colds has yielded conflicting results. According to the majority of favourable studies, zinc should be administered within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms.

Zinc appears to perform better in adults than in youngsters, according to Canadian researchers, who also noted that side effects, particularly when higher amounts are used, are common. Permanent anosmia, or the inability to smell, is a major side effect. It’s important to know what kind of zinc you’re taking and how much you’re taking before you start using it.


Some cold symptoms, such as watery eyes, runny nose, coughs, and sneezes, may be relieved slightly by sedating (first generation) antihistamines. However, experts are divided on whether the benefits of using antihistamines exceed the risks. The results of studies have been mixed.

Antihistamines, according to many experts, dry out nasal membranes, slowing mucus flow and impairing the ability of the nasal passages to rid themselves of germs.

Antihistamines may have a short-term effect on symptoms, according to a recent study published in PLOS, but only in adults during the first two days of treatment. There is insufficient evidence in youngsters to assess the treatment’s efficacy. Again, the disadvantages may outweigh the advantages.


Decongestants are drugs that help you breathe easier by shrinking the bulging membranes in your nose. Decongestants can be taken orally or through the nose. Nasal decongestants should not be used for more than 5 days unless prescribed by a doctor; extended use may cause the nose to become more blocked.

Decongestants should not be used by patients with hypertension unless they are under the care of a doctor. Many scientists are unsure if decongestants work or are worth suggesting because they only act for a limited period of time. Patients on MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) antidepressants should avoid nasal decongestants.

Medications for cough

Medications for cough

Children may be at risk from over-the-counter cough treatments. They should not be given to youngsters under the age of two, according to the FDA.



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