Just How Far Can Germs Travel?

Close-up of hands applying sanitizing gel.

How Far Can Germs Travel Through the Air?

When somebody coughs or sneezes, it can send airborne germs flying at a high velocity as well as produce droplets that contain viruses and bacteria. Generally speaking, germs can travel about 6 feet when launched by a sneeze or cough, but in some cases they may travel more or less distance. This means that, if someone sneezes in your office, the germs are landing on desks and other surfaces within approximately a 6-foot radius.


It is important to keep the distance germs travel in mind when cleaning your space, especially if you are worried about sanitizing areas affected by a specific person who may have been sick while on the premise.


Germ Travel from Surface to Surface

In addition to traveling through the air, when germ-carrying droplets travel from someone’s mouth and/or nose to a nearby surface, that germ can be picked up and transferred to another surface simply by touching the first surface and then touching something else. That means that, even if a germ can only travel about 6 feet from a person coughing or sneezing, that same germ may end up in a completely different part of the building or travel home with staff members who unwittingly touched a surface that had been contaminated. It is essential to frequently sanitize all high-touch surfaces throughout the day for this reason. Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces decreases the risk of spreading harmful germs and keeps your staff and visitors safer.


We recommend keeping sanitizing wipes as well as hand sanitizer easily accessible for all employees, so everyone can quickly wipe down surfaces after they have touched them throughout the day. Hiring a reliable cleaning service is also an important step in maintaining a clean and safe environment.

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