The influenza virus is spread person to person. People with the flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
To avoid this, stay away from sick people and stay home if sick. It also is important to wash hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately. Further, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. Symptoms start 1-4 days after the virus enters the body. 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 persons may still spread the virus to others.
Take these everyday actions to stay healthy:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective. They are available in the RSU Student Health Center.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Stay home if you get sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you stay home from work or school until you have been fever free for 24 hours and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
- Find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.
- Eat a healthy diet including lots of fluids.
- Get plenty of rest.
Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for more information.