Whether or not viruses are living organisms or not (I was taught
they are opportunistic parasites, needing a host cell to replicate and
cause us to be sick), they can be spread, as are bacteria, in the
manner you mentioned.
It would be difficult to time the life of a virus or bacteria in a
bathroom, but bacteria and viruses are spread through droplet
contamination ? a sneeze, or a cough ? which you breathe in and infect
yourself. Simply touching a dirty faucet handle or doorknob won?t make
you sick -- unless -- you touch your face, mouth, eyes or nose. It?s
at this point that you are infecting yourself. Some bacteria have
outer membranes that are tougher than others? meaning some bacteria
live longer that others, as different viruses have different life
spans outside of a host ? they do like a moist environment, and die
faster on dry surfaces.
Why some people get sick or not, upon exposure to droplet or door
handles, depends on whether the sneezer/cougher is carrying a
pathogenic virus or bacteria, and whether you infect yourself from
touching your face/mouth/eyes/nose after contact with an infected
item. This is gross, but I remember reading a study once that showed
nose-pickers were sick far more often that those that avoid that nasty
Your primary defense against getting sick is your own immune system.
If you are in good health, chances are good that your immune system
will destroy any invading organisms. If you are recuperating from
surgery or an illness, or are tired or run down, or in a state of
stress, you will be more prone to get sick. If you have already been
exposed to any organisms you come in contact with, you will have
antibodies to protect you. However, there are a plethora of different
organisms in our environment, and chances are good we will encounter
some we have never been exposed to, during our lifetime.
This site explains it best. Please read the entire page for
?Microbes can live on household surfaces for hundreds of years. The
good news, however, is that most don't. Some well-known viruses, like
HIV, live only a few seconds.
Microbes, of course, are everywhere. Each square centimeter of skin
alone harbors about 100,000 bacteria. And a single sneeze can spray
droplets infested with bacteria and viruses as far as 3 feet. The
microbial life span depends on many factors, says Philip Tierno,
director of microbiology and diagnostic immunology at the New York
University School of Medicine. Because viruses must invade cells of a
living host to reproduce, their life spans outside are generally
shorter than that of bacteria, which reproduce on their own. Although
viruses can survive outside a host on household surfaces, their
ability to duplicate themselves is compromised?shortening the virus's
Humidity also makes a difference; no bacteria or virus can live on dry
surfaces with a humidity of less than 10 percent. Any sort of
nutrients?food particles, skin cells, blood, mucus?helps microbes
thrive, which is why your kitchen sponge is a breeding ground.?
?Respiratory syncytial virus enters the body though your eyes, nose or
mouth. It spreads easily when infectious respiratory secretions ? such
as those from coughing or sneezing ? are inhaled or passed to others
through direct contact, such as shaking hands. The virus can also live
for hours on objects such as countertops and toys. Touch your mouth,
nose or eyes after touching a contaminated object, and you're likely
to acquire the virus. An infected person is most contagious in the
first few days after infection, but respiratory syncytial virus may
spread for up to a few weeks after the start of infection.?
Your best bet in a public restroom, to avoid infection, would be to
wash your hands well, and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet.
Peoplle don?t realize they are re-contaminating their hands when using
a dirty hand to turn off the faucet, and the use a clean hand to
handle the dirty faucet! Use the same paper towel to open the bathroom
door! Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you. Don?t touch
your face, mouth, nose or eyes! Try not to worry too much ? just use
good hygiene and stay healthy!
I hope this has helped you!
Experience in the health care field
virus life span + counters
pathogenic organisms + live on counters