Two Most Common Ways the H1N1 Virus is Spread
The two most common ways the H1N1 virus may spread is from personal contact with an infected person and poor hand hygiene.
- If you have personal contact with an infected person or are in the vicinity of an infected person, you may get the H1N1 virus if you breathe in tiny droplets that may be lingering in the air from the infected person, usually through a cough or sneeze. It is safest to keep a distance of at least 6 feet away from an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. According to the CDC, an infected person may be able infect other people with the H1N1 virus anywhere from 1 day prior to showing symptoms up to 5 to 7 days after the illness has passed. The incubation period for the H1N1 virus can be longer for children and those with chronic medical conditions.
- Poor hand hygiene has also been linked to spread of the H1N1 virus. If you touch an object or surface contaminated with the H1N1 flu virus and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes with unwashed hands you may be exposed to the virus and become ill.
- According to a recent Minnesota Public Radio broadcast, the H1N1 virus can survive on surfaces anywhere from 8-24 hours after being contaminated. Other common places that are known to be contaminated include cell phones, desk phones, shopping carts, hand bags, and door handles and knobs.