Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through coughing, sneezing, or even just talking closely with someone who has the flu. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too.
People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days.
What are everyday preventive actions?
Everyday preventive actions are steps that people can take to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illness, like flu. These include the following personal and community actions:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you or your child gets sick with a respiratory illness, like flu, limit contact with others as much as possible to help prevent spreading illness. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after fever is gone except to seek medical care or for other necessities. Fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
• If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.
More Helpful Information about the FLU
Documentos en Español: La influenza y usted
Documentos en Español: Medidas preventivas diarias para ayudar a combatir gérmenes como el de la influenza
Documentos en Español: Protéjase y proteja a su familia contra la Gripe! (poster)