Stopping the Spread

To avoid a cold or the flu, or passing one on, it's important to understand just how the viruses are spread.

How are cold and flu viruses spread?

Cold and flu viruses are contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone coughs or sneezes. These can be coughed, spluttered or sneezed up to a metre away and suspend in the air before landing on a surface where they can survive for up to 24 hours.

It is then relatively easy for the viruses to be picked up by peoples hands and spread around by those contaminated fingers.

What can you do to avoid spreading germs?

If you want to help prevent a cold from spreading:

  • wash your hands regularly and properly, particularly before handling food
  • try really hard not to touch your nose or mouth (we do this subconsciously all the time)
  • sneeze and cough into tissues then throw them away
  • clean surfaces regularly with a product proven to kill germs and viruses
  • use your own cup, plates, cutlery and kitchen utensils
  • use disposable paper towels to dry your hands and face, don't share towels

We have further advice on avoiding germs in specific situations – whether at work, school or while travelling.


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