How Long Does Coronavirus Last on Skin?

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Written by Bernie Carr

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, I’ve wondered about how long the virus lasts on various surfaces. We’ve found out how long it lasts on counter spaces, fixtures and other materials, but we had not heard how long it stays on our person.

Now, scientists in Japan’s Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, have found out that coronavirus can last on skin for several hours, even longer than the flu virus.

How the study was done

According the UK Daily Mail, the team used human skin that normally would have been used for skin grafts. They used cadaver skin to avoid exposing healthy test volunteers.

The scientists mixed some of the skin cells with the coronavirus, and some were mixed with the flu virus (influenza virus A).

The team also tried mixing the flu virus as well as coronavirus with mucus from upper respiratory tract samples.

The result

When the scientists measured how long the viruses survived, they got the following results:

  • The flu virus lived for around 1.8 hours on human skin.
  • Coronavirus survived on human skin for about nine hours.
  • When mixed with mucus, coronavirus lasted 11 hours, while the flu virus only lasted for 1.69 hours.

Inactivating the viruses

Using hand sanitizer with 80% alcohol, both the flu virus and coronavirus were inactivated within 15 seconds.

In conclusion

The study shows that since coronavirus lasts a lot longer than the flu virus on skin, it can be more easily transmitted by contact. This confirms that hand hygiene is very important to avoid spreading the coronavirus.

The CDC recommends:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • Before touching your face
    • After using the restroom
    • After leaving a public place
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After handling your mask
    • After changing a diaper
    • After caring for someone sick
    • After touching animals or pets
  • If you are unable to wash with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Rub it all over your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Now that hand sanitizer is available in stores and online again, it’s a good idea to have a few bottles at home as flu and cold season approaches while we are still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

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About the author:

Bernie Carr is the founder of Apartment Prepper. She has written several books including the best-selling Prepper’s Pocket Guide, Jake and Miller’s Big Adventure, The Penny-Pinching Prepper and How to Prepare for Most Emergencies on a $50 a Month Budget. Her work appears in sites such as the Allstate Blog and, as well as print magazines such as Backwoods Survival Guide and Prepper Survival Guide. She has been featured in national publications such as Fox Business and Popular Mechanics. Learn more about Bernie here.

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