A look at how long you are contagious with the flu:
The flu also known as influenza by medical terminology affects up to nearly 20% of Americans each year. The flu is a virus that infects the respiratory tract and can be a very dangerous illness if not properly taken care of. Symptoms of the flu can include fever, headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, sore muscles and chest congestion. The flu often can also cause vomiting, nausea and diarrhea especially in children, but less common in adults. The most common season for the flu is from November to late March, the coldest months here in the United States. The flu virus is possible to catch during any season, all year long.
The time frame for when a person contracts the virus to the end of it's contagious stage vary by many factors. The health and age of a person can play a major role in how long that person can stay contagious with influenza. There are studies available that show that a person in good health can be contagious one day prior to showing any type of symptoms and will remain contagious up to five days later. An unhealthy person can remain contagious for periods longer than 1 week. A good rule of thumb for any physician is to have their patient avoid contact with others for a period of one week. In some strains of influenza, the time frame for one being contagious varies with the level of extremity of the illness.
The flu is spread from person to person. Respiratory droplets in the air or on contact surfaces are the primary source of infection of the virus. When a person sneezes or coughs they produce a respiratory droplet. A respiratory droplet can can travel as far as three feet from the infected person carrying influenza. This is why it is very important to always use a tissue or your hand to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. It is as extremely important to wash your hands after sneezing or coughing or touching contact surfaces, especially in areas where there may be a good chance of a person infected with influenza has been. Doctor"s offices are a breeding ground for such viruses and many people would be surprised at how often they have come into contact with influenza by simply visiting their doctor.
The important part of taking care of and recovering from the flu is rest and staying warm and eating healthy. Unless the flu has progressed into another form of bacteria, there usually is not much a doctor can do to help you recover. More commonly the nastier forms of the flu is treated with antibiotics to help the person infected strengthen their immune system to help them fight this virus quicker. Many doctor's actually ask that unless absolutely necessary, a flu sufferer should not go to the office to be seen. The best single method for preventing and fighting the flu is to get inoculated. Getting a flu shot once a year will be your biggest tool in preventing and fighting the virus from infecting yourself and others.