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How long can the cold virus live outside the body?

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Quick Answer

According to the UK's National Health Service, it's possible for a cold virus to survive outside the body for more than one week. Viruses last longer in indoor environments. However, after 24 hours, cold viruses start to become less infectious.

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How long can the cold virus live outside the body?
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Full Answer

Cold viruses live longer on stainless steel, plastics and other non-porous surfaces, explains the NHS. Absorbent materials, such as clothing and facial tissues, do not provide very hospitable settings. Human hands are also not a suitable place for many viruses as many of the cold-type viruses tend to die within minutes. However, rhinoviruses in particular are hardy. After one hour on the hands, 40 percent of these cold viruses are still alive and potentially contagious.

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