Why You Should Wash Your Hands Now
Although the common cold (in all its variant forms) never really goes away, there is a true season for the flu — and we're in it.
A theory behind the flu's cold-weather spread is that in the winter, we all spend more time inside where it's easier to pass the virus from person to person. Another idea holds that there's something about the virus that enables its spread in cold, dry air.
Cold and flu viruses are airborne; they can fly up to six feet through the air. They can also live outside of the human body for about 24 hours, Joseph Rubino, former director of microbiology at RB, the makers of Lysol, told weather.com. So anytime you're out in public, it's likely there's a cold or flu virus lurking on a surface nearby.
"You can't live in a bubble; you're always going to be exposed to germs," Rubino says. "Our bodies have evolved to have a fighting chance in the war against germs. We have an immune system, and a very good intact skin that doesn't allow germs to go through. We're designed to live in a world full of germs." But even so, he says, there are steps you should take to avoid getting sick — washing your hands or using hand sanitizer after touching public objects, and being wary of commonly germy spaces.
Watch out for these germ-laden hot spots — and prepare to be grossed out.