How long does the flu last? Timeline and recovery

The incubation period for the flu is between one and four days, with a mean of two days according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This signifies that in case you are exposed to the virus and infected, you’ll begin to expertise symptoms (such as fever and body aches) anywhere from 24 hours to 4 days after exposure. Historically, round a billion folks get sick with influenza yearly. But final 12 months this number plummeted, with world influenza activity reaching an all-time low during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Northern Hemisphere, infections detected over the last influenza season had been just a fraction of these detected within the earlier three seasons. Typically, you’re contagious from 1 day before you could have any symptoms. You stay that way for 5 to 7 days after you begin feeling sick.

You can take measures to protect yourself towards the flu, like completely washing your palms with warm, soapy water. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, or nostril, particularly when you’ve been out in public throughout flu season. Flu signs ought to only final a week, and you must be capable of alleviate them via therapy at residence.

Flu viruses can be detected in most infected persons starting in the future before signs develop and as a lot as 5 to seven days after becoming sick. People with flu are most contagious within the first three to 4 days after their illness begins.

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Photo comic poster seasonal influenza vaccination – Sick doctor

Less usually, an individual might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it after which touching their very own mouth, nose, or presumably their eyes. The flu is a contagious respiratory sickness brought on by the influenza virus that is commonest through the fall and winter. Most people recognized with the flu feel unwell for seven to 10 days.

If you can’t keep away from contact, don’t contact your face together with your hands, particularly after touching a sick individual or objects they may have touched. Winter winds can even transport the droplets far longer than six ft. The examine found that people with asymptomatic flu transmitted an infection to 29 (6%) of 509 family contacts—meaning that roughly certainly one of each 16 infections was handed from someone with no flu signs. People in these groups could have weakened immune methods, and are at elevated threat for the complication of pneumonia, which may be lethal. For children between 6 months and eight years old, who’ve never been vaccinated towards the flu before, two doses shall be needed.

COVID-19 or Influenza – How to Tell

Within a couple of hours, an individual could transition from feeling nice to having a fever and different symptoms. They usually peak between days 2 and four, and most of the people feel better after 5–7 days. In some circumstances, your doctor could prescribe an antiviral medication. Antiviral medicines can scale back the length of your sickness and will assist stop issues. Influenza can unfold quickly between people when an infected individual coughs or sneezes, dispersing droplets of the virus into the air.

Your supplier can help guide you to other remedy choices or ask you to return in for a bodily exam if they think complications, similar to pneumonia. Symptoms normally begin a couple of days after the virus invades your respiratory tract—which includes your mouth, nostril, throat, and lungs. Some people might have mild symptoms that last a handful of days, whereas others can experience extra extreme symptoms that may final per week or longer. People who’ve the flu can unintentionally spread the illness to you by way of fluid droplets when they cough, sneeze, talk, or laugh near you.


Classic flu symptoms embrace a fever of up to 104 levels for 5 to seven days, runny nostril, cough, and physique aches (like you got “hit by a bus” physique aches). Remdesivir is the antiviral drug permitted for COVID-19 underneath emergency use authorization and is used for sicker sufferers. Low dose dexamethasone can also be getting used for patients needing supplemental oxygen. These medication don’t remedy the illness, but assist how rapidly some folks recover, notes Dr. Marcelin. Similarly, for influenza, a drug known as oseltamivir, generally generally recognized as Tamiflu®, treats the viral an infection and reduces viral shed. It is best if given inside two days of symptoms starting. People with the flu are most contagious in the three to 4 days after they develop signs, the CDC says.

Even though your body is provided to attack the virus by itself, it isn’t all the time a good suggestion to depart it to its own devices. While the virus enters your cells and replicates, your cells go on the defense, releasing chemical indicators known as cytokines that call for assist out of your immune cells. Once in your nostril, the virus units up residence, infecting the cells in your nasal passageways and airways. The virus enters a cell and replicates, making daughter viruses (aka copies of itself) that then go and infect extra cells nearby. This continues until more and more of your cells are infected. Flu, maybe surprisingly, solely has an Rø of 1.5 — meaning that one person infected with flu will infect lower than two others, on common. In comparison, the virus with the best potency is measles, which has an Rø of between 12 and 18.

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