Every Friday, we tackle a bunch of viewers’ burning questions. This week, Heather Brown explores flu germs, used Christmas trees and laughter that makes you cry.

Joan from Howard Lake asked: How long do flu germs live? 

The CDC has studied this question and found a wide range.

For hard, non-porous surfaces like steel or plastic, it’s 24 to 48 hours. Porous ones like cloth or paper: eight to 12 hours.

And if those surfaces are moist or wet, they can live all the way up to 72 hours.

When it comes to germs on our hands, one study found three hours, but, in another, it was just five minutes.

Rick from Melrose asked: What happens to all the Christmas trees that don’t sell?

WCCO talked to a bunch of Christmas tree farms and consensus was that most trees get mulched up and recycled into the farm.

Jan of Jan’s Christmas Trees in Clear Lake said she’ll also give them to non-profits for decorations later in the year.

She also said she’s had people tie together trees to create fish habitats or prevent soil erosion through the spring.

Mike wants to know: Why do we cry when we laugh so hard?

Experts don’t really know, but they have a few theories.

First, laughing and crying both happen in a high state of emotion, and crying helps us moderate those intense feelings.

Another explanation: Sometimes we laugh so hard that our body shakes. These could be reflexive tears to irritants or wind that have nothing to do with our feelings.


Heather Brown