How Long Is the Flu Contagious

The flu is contagious starting the day prior to becoming sick and as long as five days after first developing symptoms. For children, this can be even longer. Children may be contagious for two weeks after first developing symptoms. It usually takes anywhere from one to four days after you have been exposed to the flu virus before you experience any symptoms.

Fast Facts:

  • Common flu symptoms include chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, aching muscles, and headache.
  • Up to twenty percent of people in the United states will develop the flu each year.
  • The flu is spread through contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person when they cough or sneeze.
  • The flu may also be spread when a person touches a surface such as a door handle that has been exposed with the influenza virus.
  • Handwashing is a good way to help stop the spread of the flu.