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How Long Does COVID 19 Stay on Skin, And Should You Be Worried?

How Long Does COVID 19 Stay on Skin, And Should You Be Worried?

How long does COVID-19 stay on skin? This is a question that has been on people’s minds ever since it was discovered that COVID-19 can survive on surfaces.

But have there been any confirmed COVID-19 cases from skin-to-skin contact? And what can people to in order to stay safe?

How long does COVID-19 stay on skin?

Surface transmission of COVID-19 is a genuine cause for concern for a lot of people. After all, getting seriously sick just by touching things sounds like a very scary proposition.

Of course, these surfaces also include our skin, which is the reason why it’s best for people to avoid physical contact as much as possible.

In light of this, researchers from Japan have made some discoveries about COVID-19 and our skin.

In particular, they have found that COVID-19 can survive for extended periods of time on our skin. And they estimate it to be about 5 times longer than that of influenza.

Coronavirus can survive on skin for about 9 hours, based on research

Researchers from the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine have recently discovered that the coronavirus can survive for an estimated 9 hours on our skin.

They found this out by using samples of the virus, and placing it on donated skin.

Afterwards, they tested it side by side with a strain of influenza A, and found that COVID-19 survived much longer than influenza.

In addition, the virus also remained active for the 9 hours that it remained on the skin.

The researchers also tested how long it would take for a common disinfectant, such as alcohol, to kill off the virus on the skin.

They found that after being exposed to an alcohol-based disinfectant, the virus was deactivated in just 15 seconds.

How long can it survive on other surfaces?

Aside from skin, the researchers also tested the survival of the virus on other common surfaces.

They found that on stainless steel, heat-resistant glass, and plastic, the virus remained anywhere from 58 to 85 hours. In comparison, influenza only lasted about 6-11 hours.

When compared to viruses like influenza, COVID-19 has a much higher chance of contact transmission. This is because it can remain active for long periods of time on various surfaces.

Despite the possibility of contact transmission, there have yet to be any confirmed cases of infection through this method.

The most common way that people get infected is when they inhale or ingest respiratory droplets that have been contaminated with the virus.

However, this does not necessarily mean that people should not be worried about contact or surface transmission. Just because it has not been recorded does not mean that it can happen.

In addition, researchers have also confirmed that the virus remains active even when on surfaces. The virus remaining active means that the virus still has the potential to infect people, and all it takes is for a person to touch the surface before they can get infected.

Important safety precautions

Now that we know the answer to the question of “How long does COVID-19 stay on skin?” It’s important to address what we can do in order to stay safe.

Here are some safety reminders to avoid getting sick, and to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Wash your hands often

Washing your hands is the simplest way to avoid spreading and being infected with COVID-19. It is important to wash your hands thoroughly, and with soap and running water.

You should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, and be sure to wash every nook and cranny, especially under the nails and in between your fingers.

Using alcohol or a hand sanitizer would also be effective, but it would be best to wash your hands instead.

how long does covid 19 stay on skin

Disinfect any potentially contaminated surfaces

It would also be a good idea to disinfect any surfaces in your home that could be contaminated with COVID-19. These are surfaces that might have come into contact with the outside, or have been touched by someone who is sick. These include doorknobs, tables, utensils, etc.

Use surface cleaners that kill viruses and bacteria, and wipe all of these surfaces down to ensure that your home stays virus-free.

Wear a mask when going outside

As a rule, always remember to wear a mask whenever you go outside. Wearing a mask helps prevent you from inhaling any virus particles, so you stay virus-free.

If using a disposable mask, be sure to dispose of your mask properly, and disinfect your hands. If you’re using a reusable mask, be sure to wash it thoroughly to make sure there are no virus particles on your mask.

Try to avoid being in close contact with others

Lastly, it would be best to try and avoid being in close contact with others as much as possible. The more people are around you, the higher the chances that you might get infected.

So if you’re going outside, try to avoid any crowded places, and keep your distance from others if you can. It’s also important to only go out if necessary, and if you can stay home instead, it would be best to do so.

Learn more about COVID-19, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Coronavirus can survive on skin for 9 hours | Live Science, https://www.livescience.com/coronavirus-survives-9-hours-on-skin.html, Accessed October 19, 2020

Cleaning and Disinfection for Households | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cleaning-disinfection.html, Accessed October 19, 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) frequently asked questions | CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html, Accessed October 19, 2020

Coronavirus Resource Center – Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/coronavirus-resource-center, Accessed October 19, 2020

Coronavirus can live on skin for 9 hours, 5 times longer than flu: Japan study – The Mainichi, https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20201017/p2a/00m/0na/011000c, Accessed October 19, 2020

COVID-19 can live on skin for up to 9 hours, https://www.diabetes.co.uk/news/2020/oct/covid19-can-live-on-skin-for-9-hours.html, Accessed September 7, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Sep 07
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel