One of the issues with being sick is determining how ill you actually are. Should you call out at work, or push through? The truth is, when you have the flu, it’s not always about how you’re feeling. Sometimes, it comes down to how contagious you are. Braving the workday means nothing if you give your coworkers the same bug you have. Not everyone who has the flu will have the same recovery time, either, so it is very important that preventing the spread of the virus is a top priority for everyone.
You’re contagious as early as a day before you show symptoms. This means that some germs will inevitably be spread. But once you do see symptoms and find yourself under the weather, lock your doors and stay inside. It is possible to spread the virus for up to five to seven days. Kids, however, are contagious longer, until all of their symptoms fade.
The way you spread the flu is through droplets in the air. These beads of moisture are expelled from your body when your sneeze or cough, and they can travel up to six feet. Once they land on a hard surface, they can survive for up to 48 hours. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a droplet land directly on you, you might be out of luck.
If you catch the flu, the safest place for you and others is your home. You are most contagious from day one to day three, and the more you cough and sneeze, the more of the virus you spread in the air. You can tell if you’re still contagious if you have a fever, as well.
After your temperature goes down, you should still stay home for up to 24 hours, and only if your fever goes away naturally. That means without the help of medicine.
Flu medicine does not stop the spread of the virus. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of it though. Medicine can lessen the time that you are sick, and in doing so, less the time you are contagious.
The moral of the story is, even if you feel up to it, stay away from people or public places, when you’re sick. A three-day flu for you may be a seven-day cold for someone else. So, always wash your hands, call your mom weekly, and stay home when you’re sick. Sometimes, solitude can be the healthiest choice.