For how long is flu contagious?

Written by meg butler
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For how long is flu contagious?
(Tim Vickers/Associated Content)

When flu season comes around, it is important to be extra vigilant to avoid catching the virus. A person with the flu can transmit the virus one day before they even begin to show symptoms of the virus. And they will continue to be contagious for five days after they develop the symptoms even if they are still coughing and sneezing. However, young children and people with compromised immune systems may be contagious for up to two weeks.

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How Long is the Flu Contagious

When flu season comes around, it is important to be extra vigilant to avoid catching the virus. A person with the flu can transmit the virus one day before they even begin to show symptoms of the virus. And they will continue to be contagious for five days after they develop the symptoms even if they are still coughing and sneezing. However, young children and people with compromised immune systems may be contagious for up to two weeks.

How Do You Catch the Flu?

Although it is a good idea to wash your hands more frequently during flu season, people most often catch the flu when their mouth or nose comes into direct contact with respiratory moisture droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. These drops can be propelled up to three feet in the air and are often too small to see.

You can also catch the flu by touching these droplets on a tissue, desk, or doorknob and then touching your mouth or nose.

Have You Caught the Flu?

If you have been exposed to the flu virus, it will take one to four days for your symptoms to develop. However, if you want to be sure that it is the flu and not simply a cold, you will have to be examined by a doctor. The symptoms of the flu are quite similar to that of the common cold and other respiratory illnesses.

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