IS THE FLU CONTAGIOUS?
Yes. In fact, you may be able to pass the flu to someone else before you know you’re sick. Healthy adults are able to infect others beginning one day prior to developing symptoms and for 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
HOW CAN I PREVENT SPREADING THE FLU?
The flu virus is spread by droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. If these droplets land on another person’s mucous membranes of the nose, mouth or eyes, they may become infected with the influenza virus. Less often, a person may contract influenza by touching a surface or object that has the influenza virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes.
Avoid spreading influenza by staying away from others as much as possible if sick, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, washing your hands with soap and water and/or using alcohol-based hand rubs, do not share eating utensils. In addition, the CDC recommends that you stay at home for 24 hours after your fever is gone.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE THE FLU?
Influenza is a contagious respiratory virus. Symptoms of the flu include fever, or feeling feverish, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body or muscle aches, headaches, fatigue. Some patients may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children than adults. However, not everyone with influenza will have a fever.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD AND THE FLU?
Because the symptoms are so similar, a special test may be needed to distinguish the difference. The flu and the common cold are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. The symptoms caused by both are similar and can make it difficult to tell them apart. Fever, body aches, fatigue and dry cough associated with influenza are much more intense. Colds are milder and more likely to cause symptoms of a runny or stuffy nose. The common cold occurs year-round while influenza outbreaks are more seasonal, generally in winter. The CDC has tracked influenza activity rates by month for the past 35 years, with the peak month for flu outbreaks being February followed by January, then March and December.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention