Flu? How Long Are You Contagious With Influenza?

contagious influenza

What is Flu?

Flu is a common illness that causes thousands of hospitalizations and deaths yearly. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses.

Flu is a highly contagious disease, and it spreads very quickly, especially in large groups of people. It is not uncommon for school children and co-workers to become infected with the disease within two to three weeks. Its first symptom is a fever, but you may also experience a cough, sore throat, and tiredness and may not feel like eating. The flu can cause pneumonia or breathing problems in severe cases.

A medical professional can diagnose the flu by examining the patient’s symptoms and history. They can also perform a rapid test to determine whether the person is suffering from an influenza A or B virus infection. While these tests are not 100% accurate, they allow health care professionals to distinguish between A and B. Some tests can also identify the genetic material of the flu virus.

How is Influenza Transmitted?

The process of influenza transmission is influenced by several factors, including the host, environment, and the virus itself. Influenza viruses spread through contact with an infected person or object, by fomites, or by inhaling aerosols.

Inhalation is the most common way Influenza is transmitted. Respiratory droplets contain influenza virus nuclei that can easily infect the air and contact nearby humans. These respiratory droplets are accompanied by coughs, sneezes, or other respiratory secretions from the infected person.

The virus droplets can live for hours or days on a surface and easily enter the body through such contact.

Influenza symptoms typically disappear after about a week, and most people will recover completely without needing medical attention. However, those already suffering from the illness are at risk for serious complications, including pneumonia.

How Long Are You Contagious With Influenza?

The contagious flu period depends on the severity of your symptoms. The illness generally lasts about one week for an adult and one week for a young child. People infected with Influenza are highly contagious and may be contagious to others six feet away, so they should avoid public places and touching other infected people.

The window of contagiousness for the flu and the cold viruses is about a week or three days. Rotavirus, which causes stomach bugs, can be contagious before or two weeks after symptoms have appeared. During this time, people with the flu should remain at home until their fever is under control and they are no longer contagious to others.

What is Flu and Influenza Treatment?

The treatment of Influenza varies, depending on the individual. Generally, it consists of resting at home and staying well-hydrated. It may also involve using over-the-counter medications such as decongestants and antihistamines. These medications can help reduce the symptoms and shorten the time of illness. In severe cases, antiviral medicines may be prescribed. These medicines are most effective when taken within two days of the first sign of illness.

Several antivirals are available over-the-counter and prescription to help with the flu. The medication comes in pill, liquid, inhalable powder, and intravenous forms. However, the most effective treatment is vaccination against the flu, which can be administered via injection or nasal spray. The vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of serious complications in flu patients.

When to Go to ER for Flu?

It’s not always necessary to visit the emergency room near you for flu symptoms. However, if you’re feeling particularly ill, it’s best to go to the ER. Flu can cause various symptoms, including difficulty breathing and bluish skin. Some people also experience rashes.

Flu medications can help with symptoms, but you should visit the ER if you’re experiencing chest pain, confusion, persistent vomiting, respiratory distress, or difficulty breathing. The CDC has guidelines for when to visit the emergency room if you’re experiencing the high-risk flu.

Having your flu shot every year can help prevent the spread of the illness. The Exceptional Emergency Center stocks the seasonal flu vaccine in the fall, making it easier for patients to stay healthy and reduce their risk of spreading the illness. Additionally, Waco emergency rooms are open all year round, offering 24-hour care to patients.

Flu emergency treatment can reduce the chance of serious complications. In addition, early treatment of flu symptoms can prevent its recurrence.

Contact Us 

Visit Express Emergency Room Waco for more information about flu, how it transmits and how to prevent it.

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