It's not just the germs on your desk that you need to watch out for. "To be clear, the easiest and most common way to contract the flu is directly from person to person," said Dr. Lansen. "A cough or sneeze can send droplets of the virus flying through the air, which can land up to six feet away!" Terrifying.
"When an office environment was studied as a model for the spread of influenza in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, researchers found that the flu virus was actually most likely to be transmitted not by surfaces but by long-range airborne transmission," said Dr. Sussex-Pizula, "i.e., someone infected with influenza coughing and sneezing tens of thousands of tiny flu virus particles into the air that can stay suspended in the air for hours, which then transmit the flu after being inhaled." She told POPSUGAR that this accounted for roughly 54 percent of the total flu infections.
"If flu droplets hit your nose, mouth, or eyes, the virus can start replicating in your system and you can develop the flu," said Dr. Lansen. "And although it's not quite as risky as standing next to someone with the sniffles, you can get the flu by touching a flu-contaminated object and then touching your own face (which we do hundreds of times per day)."
When you see someone looking under the weather, they're essentially a walking transmission. "A person with the flu may cough around 22 times per hour and sneeze around five times per hour," said Dr. Sussex-Pizula. "Unfortunately, these frequent coughs or sneezes can spread droplets containing the flu virus about a one to two meters in front of and surrounding the infected person, and micro particles can actually be spread in the air across entire rooms and persist for hours."