How Viruses Work

Reducing the Spread

As discussed above, viruses can exist for a long time outside the body. The way that viruses spread is specific to the type of virus. They can be spread through the following means:

  • Carrier organisms - mosquitoes, fleas
  • The air
  • Direct transfer of body fluids from one person to another -- saliva, sweat, nasal mucus, blood, semen, vaginal secretions
  • Surfaces on which body fluids have dried

To reduce the risk of spreading or contacting viruses, here are things you can do:

  • Cover your mouth or nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially after going to the bathroom or preparing food.
  • Avoid contact with the bodily fluids of others.

These practices are not foolproof, but they can help you reduce the risk of viral infection.