The germs that cause influenza are spread up to three feet when someone who has the flu coughs or sneezes. You can even spread flu germs when you speak. If you handle things the germs land on and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, the flu virus can easily enter your body.
Most of the time, the flu is spread through droplets in the air. Sick people sneeze or cough out beads of moisture that contain the flu virus. They can travel up to 6 feet. You’re exposed to the flu virus when you breathe in the droplets, or if they land in your mouth, nose, or eyes.
How soon do symptoms appear? Symptoms of influenza usually appear 1-4 days after exposure. How long can a person spread influenza? Persons are most contagious during the 24 hours before symptoms appear and may be contagious for up to 5 -7 days after getting sick.
By practicing a few simple rules at home, you can help keep your family healthy and prevent the flu from spreading. Get vaccinated. Cover coughs and sneezes. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Wash your hands often. Limit contact with family members who are ill. Clean your home. Practice healthy habits.
That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those people may still spread the virus to others.
“Avoiding close contact is probably helpful, but not a guarantee,” she said. Sleeping in the same bed will increase your chances of contracting your spouse’s illness but often can ‘t be avoided, Dr. Thompson said.
Many common household cleaning products can kill the flu virus and help lower the risk of spreading the virus. Protect your family by stocking up on these cleaning agents before the flu comes knocking. Spray disinfectants, like Lysol Disinfecting Spray, kill up to 99.9 percent of fungi, viruses, and bacteria.
Cold and flu viruses are not airborne. You can ‘t catch a cold just by being in the same room as someone who’s sick. You generally have to come into direct contact with their oral or nasal secretions.
Flu viruses in droplets can survive in the air for several hours, and lower temperatures increase their survival rate, according to the National Health Service of England. NHS officials say flu viruses don’t last long on hands, falling to low levels within about five minutes.
Flu viruses that are able to survive on surfaces outside of the body that will then get transferred to someone’s hands can live up to 24 hours. Although, infectious flu viruses can survive on tissues including your hands for only 15 minutes.
There’s no cure for the flu. But if you’re exposed to the virus and see a doctor early, you might be able to receive a prescription antiviral medication such as Tamiflu. If taken within the first 48 hours of symptoms, an antiviral may shorten the duration of the flu and reduce the severity of symptoms.
Stay away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick. Continue to cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands even after you return to work. It is important to know that even if you don’t have a fever, you may have flu and be contagious if you get flu symptoms.
Just because your spouse has the flu doesn’t mean you’ll inevitably get sick. It’s hard to contain germs if you’re sharing an enclosed space, but wearing a mask or staying at least six feet away from your sick loved one for a few days can help.
Flu germs live 8 to 12 hours on fabric The influenza virus tends to live for a shorter time on fabric than hard surfaces, Reynolds says. Scientists do not have a definite explanation for why, but it may be because fabrics are more porous. Studies show that the flu virus can live for only 8 to 12 hours on fabric.