Friday, September 29, 2023

When Are You Contagious If You Have The Flu

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How Long Should You Quarantine If You Have The Flu

Good Question: How Long Are We Contagious With Flu?

The CDC recommends quarantining for 45 days from the onset of symptoms. This is a good general rule for individuals with healthy immune systems, as this period is usually when a person is most contagious.

If you have the flu, it may also be advisable to allow yourself the time to quarantine to both protect others and recover well in order to protect yourself from a secondary infection or prolonged illness.

However, many people experience economic necessity or job insecurity that requires them to return to work sooner than ideal for their health. If you must leave quarantine early, it may be best to use a mask to protect others.

Using a mask for 7 full days is also advisable if you have close contact with any infants, older adults, or people with weak immune systems.

When To Stay Home

When deciding whether to stay home, consider your symptoms. If you have a mild tickle in your throat or a stuffy nose, you should be able to go to work. Allergy symptoms also dont need to keep you from work. Theyre not contagious.

If youre really coughing and sneezing or you feel generally miserable, stay home. Also, avoid the office if youre vomiting or have diarrhea.

Get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and wait for your symptoms to subside. The

Your doctor may recommend several treatments for your illness. Its important to consider when these treatments may be helpful and their potential side effects.

What Stops The Flu From Spreading

There are multiple ways to avoid getting and spreading the flu. Here are some of the best ways:

  • Washing your hands often: This will help protect you from any germs that could make their way into your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you cannot wash your hands with soapy water, then hand sanitizer is the next best thing.
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people: Trying your best to stay away from sick people will help keep you from catching the flu. If youre sick with the flu, limiting your contact with other people will keep you from spreading the flu.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing: When youre sick with the flu and cough or sneeze, tiny droplets containing the flu virus can travel through the air and infect other people. Covering your mouth and nose is a great way to help stop this.
  • Wearing a face mask: The protection you get from face masks isnt exclusive to coronavirus. A face mask can protect you from the common cold and flu too.
  • Staying up to date on vaccinations: Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to prevent the flu. Flu vaccines have been proven to reduce the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and flu-related deaths.

You May Like: Best Places To Get A Flu Shot

When Does The Flu Become Contagious

Once you have the influenza virus, you can spread it to other people about a day before you first notice symptoms.

Remember, the average incubation period for the flu is about two days. So, if you come into contact with virus on Saturday morning, you can potentially start spreading it to others by Sunday evening. And by Monday afternoon, youll likely start feeling the dreaded body aches that come with the flu.

Viral shedding refers to the release of the virus from your body into your surrounding environment. It tends to peak during your first day experiencing symptoms. This means youre usually most contagious on this day. Once you develop symptoms, youll still be contagious for another five to seven days .

Children, older adults, and those with a weakened immune system may be contagious for a longer period of time.

Its often hard to know when you have the flu coming on. Unlike the symptoms of the common cold, which develop gradually, the symptoms of the flu often come on suddenly.

The common symptoms of the flu can include:

  • fever

How Long Are You Contagious With The Flu

How Long Are You Contagious When You Have The Flu? Heres What To Know ...
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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention , about 8% of the U.S. population, or roughly 30 million people, get sick with influenza each flu season, which spans fall and winter with peaks typically lasting from December through February.

Though many people only experience mild to moderate symptoms, the flu can develop into a more serious illness, sometimes requiring hospitalization.

Understanding how to spot the symptoms of the flu and for how long you may be contagious can help prevent the chance of spreading the illness to those around you.

In fact, there are several strategies that can help you and your loved ones stay safe and stop the spread of the flu, including limiting person-to-person contact, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, ventilating indoor spaces, and getting the annual flu vaccine.

Read on to learn more about signs youre contagious with the flu, how to stop the spread, when to see a doctor, and more.

Also Check: Penn State Health Flu Shots

What Else Can Help

To make spreading the flu less likely, everyone in your family should::

  • Wash hands well and often with soap, especially after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating or preparing food
  • Never pick up used tissues.
  • Never share cups and eating utensils.
  • Stay home from work or school if they have the flu.
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, then put it in the trash.
  • Cough or sneeze into their upper arm, not their hands, if a tissue isnt handy.

How To Know If Youre Contagious With A Cold Or Flu And When To Return To Work

Its an all-too-common sight during cold and flu season: sniffly, miserable people dragging themselves in to the office when they should be recovering at home. But how do you know when youre no longer a contagious hazard to your coworkers? Read on to find out why your runny nose may mean that you should stay quarantined.

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How Do You Get The Flu

How Do You Catch a Cold or the Flu?

  • Viruses spread through tiny droplets in the air that are released when a sick person sneezes, coughs, or blows their nose.
  • You can get sick if you touch your nose, eyes, or mouth after you have touched something contaminated by the virus, such as a toy, countertop, or doorknob.
  • Staying Safe And Stopping The Spread Of The Flu

    When Should I Worry About the Flu?

    We’ve learnt a lot about staying safe and healthy in the last year, but the seasonal flu is still a concern and the best way to prevent it is by getting your flu shot

    In the past year we’ve learned a lot about how to stay safe and stay healthy.

    We know to wash our hands properly and sanitize often to stay home.

    If we don’t feel well and to keep our distance from others but even with these precautions, the seasonal flu is still a concern and the best way to avoid it is to get your flu shot.

    Remember to make sure it’s at least two weeks apart from your covert 19 vaccine to truly protect yourself and the people you love this flu season.

    Don’t forget your flu shot authorised by the Victorian Government Melbourne.

    Also Check: How To Get Flu Shot Record From Cvs

    How Is The Virus Spread

    This is where things get a little murky. But before the question can be answered, Gardam provides some historical background that indicates the basis upon which the contagion and its specifics have been established is flawed.

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    One highly cited study takes the example of an Alaska Airlines flight that was grounded on the tarmac and held a passenger infected with the flu. The story goes that the passengers on the flight were not allowed to deplane, so after a while, the crew brought food on board and set up a buffet.

    Unfortunately, the person who had the flu was seated next to the food and 72 per cent of people on board were infected. It was then concluded that the virus was airborne and thats how it was transmitted. But Gardam doesnt see it that way.

    There are three ways to pass a respiratory virus: through contact through big droplets or airborne .

    We know that 99.9 per cent of the influenza virus is in the big droplets, and while it does exist in the microscopic particles, its much less, he says. If you play the odds, the big droplets are where the money is.

    Transmission through contact is known to transmit rhinovirus and other viruses, but doctors dont know for sure that it also spreads the flu. It is reasonable to assume that through that contact transmission has a role, though its not known how much.

    When You Are Contagious

    Viral gastroenteritis can be caused by several different viruses. Norovirus is one of the most common. Rotavirus is another common cause that can be very serious for young children. Fortunately, there is a vaccine for rotavirus now so it is not nearly as prevalent as it used to be.

    Both of these viruses and others that cause “stomach flu” symptoms are highly contagious:

    • Norovirus: Symptoms appear one to three days after exposure to the virus and you are contagious as soon as your symptoms start. General recommendations are that you can return to daily activities once you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, but you are actually still contagious for three days after you recover and could spread the virus for up to 2 weeks.
    • Rotavirus: You are actually contagious before symptoms even appear and for two weeks after you recover. Typically symptoms start one to two days after exposure.

    With both of these viruses, children are often contagious and spread the illness for longer than adults.

    Also Check: Where To Get A Flu Shot In Denver

    When And For How Long Is Your Flu Contagious

    • Copy article linkCopy link

    Coming out of a flu can be a truly transformative experience. That first fever-free morning, complete with the ability to breathe through both nostrils, can be enough to make you jump for joy. And even though you may feel like youre ready to rejoin the land of the living , should you?

    The answer to that is as much political as it is clinical, says Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious diseases specialist and chief of staff at Humber River Hospital in Toronto.

    READ MORE: Researchers have found a link between flu and heart attack

    The question of when youre contagious has been used as justification for certain hospital policies. Theres reasonably good data about when youre likely contagious and when youre not, but the reality is we dont have complete answers.

    ‘when Are You Most Contagious With The Flu’

    How contagious are you when you have a cold or flu?

    We know that a person can spread COVID-19 to other people even before symptoms develop, but what about the flu? When is the flu most contagious?

    Like COVID, you can spread the flu to other people before symptoms appear. Most people begin to be contagious 1 day before they start feeling sick, and continue to be for 5 to 7 more days . You may be most contagious during the first 3-4 days of illness because thats when youre coughing and sneezing the most. Whenever you cough and sneeze, you expel droplets containing the virus. If someone nearby breathes in one of those droplets, they could get the flu, too. Or those virus-containing droplets could land on surfaces, where the influenza virus can survive for at least 48 hours. Someone could touch that infected surface, then touch their nose, and become infected that way.

    Preventing the spread of flu is more crucial than ever this year because its possible to become infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which could be deadly. Even an otherwise healthy persons immune system may not be able to fight off two respiratory viruses at once.

    To stop the spread of the flu, you should, first of all, get a flu shot. Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use a hand sanitizer. Clean your home even more frequently than usual. Use antibacterial wipes or a bleach solution to clean high-touch surfaces like doorknobs and kitchen cabinets.

    Also Check: Is It Safe To Get The Flu Shot While Breastfeeding

    How To Ease Flu Symptoms

    The best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a flu shot. But if you do end up getting sick, here are some tips to ease your symptoms:

    • Stay hydrated
    • Run the humidifier
    • Get plenty of rest

    Most importantly, stay home and take a raincheck from social gatherings. This will not only ensure that you take care of yourself but also that you stop the flu from spreading to other people.

    Conditions That Affect Covid

    A person is most infectious and more likely to spread the virus in the few days around the time that symptoms develop. This means that some individuals can be contagious before they develop symptoms.

    The risk of becoming infected increases the closer you are to a person and the longer you are close to that person, especially if this contact occurs in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

    Most large droplets will fall to the ground within 2 metres. However, in some situations the virus has been transmitted to people more than 2 metres away, or to people who passed through a space soon after the infectious person left.

    Things that increase the risk of this long-range infection include:

    • being in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation within which fine particles containing virus can build-up
    • being near an infected person breathing heavily
    • being exposed to these conditions for a longer period of time.

    The Three Cs are situations where spread of the virus is most likely are:

  • closed spaces with poor ventilation
  • crowded places with many people nearby
  • close-contact settings, especially where people have close-range conversations, singing or shouting.
  • The risk is highest when these factors overlap: for example, in small, poorly ventilated spaces with lots of people talking loudly or shouting. The risk is lower outside, with fewer people, if they are widely spread.

    Recommended Reading: Wauwatosa Health Department Flu Shots

    You Could Give Someone The Flu For Days Before You Get Sick And Weeks Afterward

    You wake up feeling crummy. Your throat is sore. You have no energy and no appetite. You strongly suspect that youre coming down with a cold or maybe the flu. But. Theres an important meeting at work and youre the one whos supposed to lead the meeting. Or maybe theres a ton of work to do and if you dont go in, youll be dumping all of it on your team members. And so you bundle up, stuff some tissues in your pocket and drag yourself to the office.

    I know this sounds familiar because weve all done it, including me. And a zillion cold remedy commercials have encouraged us to take a pill that will take care of our symptoms so we can ignore the cold and go right back to our desks. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Not only are you making yourself less productive by working instead of resting when youre sick, you can kill the productivity of the entire office if others catch your illness too. In fact, even if youre just a little bit unwell, or were sick but are now feeling almost completely better, you can still spread contagion throughout your workplace.

    Here are the best things you can do to make sure a cold or flu doesnt wipe out your whole office this flu season. If youre the boss, try to get everyone to follow these rules.

    When Should I Seek Medical Treatment

    How Long Is the Flu Contagious?

    Children most likely to need medical treatment from their doctor for influenza infection are those who are very young or have serious medical conditions . If you think your child needs medical treatment, call your pediatricians office first. Your doctor may want to speak with you over the phone and recommend treatments rather than have you come into the office, where your child can infect other people.

    Also Check: Where Is The Flu Shot Given

    Does Tamiflu Shorten The Contagious Period

    Other than these methods, some antiviral medications may shorten the flus contagious period. Tamiflu is a medication used to lessen the severity of symptoms, and shorten the overall duration of illness which in turn may decrease how long someone is contagious. .Studies show that Tamiflu shortens the average length of the flu by one day, but it is important to start treatment as soon as possible from the time of symptom onset ideally within 48 hours.

    Tamiflu can also help prevent the flu if someones been exposed to a confirmed case of the flu. However, its important to remember that Tamiflu isnt a replacement for an annual influenza vaccine.

    RELATED: Does the flu shot or Tamiflu prevent COVID-19?

    Flu Versus The Common Cold

    If you have flu-like symptoms but no fever, you might suspect that you have a cold. It is not always easy to tell the difference, and even a cold can cause you to have a mild fever.

    In general, all symptoms are worse when you have the flu. You are also more likely to have congestion, a runny nose, a cough, a sore throat, or sneezing with the flu. Exhaustion is also common with the flu. This tiredness is not nearly as extreme when you have a cold.

    Read Also: What Is The Best Medication For Cold And Flu

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