How are cold and flu viruses spread?

There are plenty of misconceptions regarding the spread of cold and flu viruses. Have you ever wondered how the cold and flu are actually spread?

Viruses spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, expelling viral-infected droplets several feet. These viruses can also live on any object that comes in contact with an infected person. Objects such as door handles, telephones, towels, and silverware can spread a virus days after being contaminated.

Touching your nose, mouth or eyes after handling an object contaminated by a virus will likely infect you. A person infected with a flu virus can spread the infection one day before symptoms emerge, and for up to a week later.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seasonal Influenza: How Flu Spreads. Retrieved from: Accessed January 26, 2012.