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How You Catch a Cold: Where Do Cold, Flu & Household Germs Hide?

The common cold starts when a person is infected with the virus, and how you catch a cold varies from case to case. We catch viruses by touching things that are infected by germs, such as a doorknob or a keyboard, and then passing that along by touching our nose or mouth. When our immune system notices something is wrong, it attacks all the bad germs—leaving our bodies exhausted. Cold and flu viruses can survive up to 24 hours on some surfaces, which means those germs can linger in your home for much too long. It's important to learn where cold, flu, and household germs hide to prevent the spread of cold and flu among your family.

Places where cold, flu, and household germs hide:

  • Computer keyboard
  • Doorknob
  • Eating utensils
  • Taps – there are approximately 229,000 germs per square inch on frequently used taps!
  • Work desks – up to 21,000 germs per square inch
  • Kitchen sink
  • Escalator handrails
  • Shopping trolley handles
  • Light switches
  • Remote controls
  • Toys
  • Pens, pencils
  • Public Toilets
  • Aeroplanes

It's safe to assume that in any public area, such as bathrooms, elevators, etc., will be contaminated with germs, and can contribute to how you catch a cold and the flu. Washing our hands dramatically can reduce the number of people who will get sick with colds, so be sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom with a disinfecting soap for at least 20 seconds. It's also important to wash your hands before touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Disinfect surfaces in the home with Dettol Disinfectant Spray, which kills 99.9% of bacteria and flu virus when used as directed. It can be used on hard surfaces, like bedside tables and video game controllers, and soft surfaces like carpets, sofas and bed sheets. How you catch a cold can seem like a mystery, but taking precautions to maintain a healthy home can help reduce your risk.

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