How Long Is the Flu Contagious? Symptoms and Diagnosis

how long is the flu contagious

Flu is a type of infection that attacks your respiratory system. Now, most of you often get the thought that is flu contagious?  The answer is yes, they are and the infected people spread the infection. This infection is the result of the flu viruses that are involved in your body and makes you seriously ill. The flu infections fall into different categories. Each has distinct features than the other and their duration depends on their kinds. Some flu does less harm to your body and can get cured sooner.

On the other hand, some flu can make you severely weak and ill. This type of flu virus tends to stay in your body for longer. ( Flu viruses generally enter your body through the mucus of your mouth, nose or even eyes and then spread into your body. If you are concerned about how long is the flu contagious, you may get a valid answer in this article.

Symptoms of flu infection

Well, before proceeding to the main conclusion of how long is the flu contagious, you should know how to judge a flu infection.  While you are down with the flu, you can notice certain symptoms. Here is a list of some primary symptoms that your body can face if you got a sudden flu attack

  • Muscle aches
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Painful ears
  • Watery eyes

Apart from all these, you may get other symptoms such as ailment in the stomach or stuffy or runny nose.

Why flu infection mostly occurs in the winter months?

Another question that may arrive in your head apart from ‘how long is the flu contagious’ is why does it occur, especially in winter? During the winter, as the indoor air is less humid than outside the flu virus lives longer. Thus, the flu virus moves around the air which you can easily catch while inhaling the air, even if you are away from that infected person.

Different types of flu and their contagion:

Most of the flues stay with you for at least a week. To calculate how long is the flu contagious, you have counted for the day before you are getting its symptoms to 7 days afterward. The worst part about the diseases is that as it is a viral infection, so, you can transfer it to others and get affected again for the enclosure with them. When you feel that you are okay and there is no trace of flu virus in your body, you are wrong. You can unknowingly spread the disease to your dear ones even after three weeks of the recovery.

If you are affected by the flu virus called rotavirus, the chances of your spreading the disease starts even before your symptoms are visible. Its deadly effects last for a minimum of two weeks after you have recovered.  Let’s check the different types of the flu virus and their contagion-

Flu viruses can be divided into three different types- flu virus A, flu virus B and flu virus C. Type A and type B flu viruses are much more noticeable concerning the type C virus. However, the symptoms caused by type C are less severe. The thing that you should worry about is: In the United States, each year 200,000 hospitalizations are reported due to the flu infection and the numbers of death caused by this infection remain between 3,000 and 49,000.

Type A flu virus

While you are affected by the type A flu virus, you will observe the common symptoms of the disease that are motioned above. The flu usually attacks the older people who are 60 and up or even those who have a weak immune system. Nevertheless, with this virus, the animals can also get infected. This flu can sometimes cure with their own, but the best thing to do after getting the symptoms is to consult a good doctor. If you leave it without treatment, the chances of it becoming deadly are high. The dangerous diseases that can happen if it is left untreated are-

  • Ear infection
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Asthma attacks
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain

How to diagnose Type A influenza

After getting the symptoms of flu attack, immediately go for a checkup. Your doctor will make you go through the rapid molecular assay. This takes only 30 minutes to diagnose the influenza virus, and it always shows you the accurate results. This type of flu can resemble the symptoms of a common cold but do not try to self diagnose it as it can make the situation worse.

How long it remains contagious?

If you are wondering how long is the flu contagious?  Let’s make it clear; once you are affected by the type A influenza virus, you can spread the disease from the day or previous after being diagnosed. It lasts for the next five days and in severe cases, the contagious flu period lasts for longer than five days. The duration of the contagion depends on the patient’s weak immune system.

Prevention method

However, taking precaution is always better than remedy. To avoid this infected disease, the best way is to make the annual vaccination shot. Each of the flu shot prevents 3 to 4 types of influenza viruses for the whole year.

Other methods to prevent the disease

  • Avoid crowds during the flu season
  • Wash hands before contacting them with your mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Cover your mouth while sneezing and coughing

Type B influenza

With the type B influenza virus, you can notice similar symptoms to type A virus. But, like type A virus, the type B flu virus does not affect the animals. Only humans are affected by this virus through type B influenza affected people.  In type B virus, you may notice less critical symptoms compared to type A. But, in times, it can show some dangerous effects in your body providing you deadly pots diseases such as pneumonia, kidney failure, and respiratory failure, bronchitis, myocarditis and many others. So, it is better to treat this infection before it is too late. Majorly children of or five years old or under that suffer from this virus. The older people and pregnant women are also included in the list of the sufferers.

Diagnosing type B flu virus

When you are getting the symptoms of flu-like headache, coughing, runny nose, etc., immediately go to the doctor for a proper diagnosis. Leaving the disease in your sit situation may worsen your condition. Your doctor will go through a general checkup and examine your symptoms and suggest an influenza test. The result of this particular viral infection comes with accurate maximum time. After you are diagnosed with the contagious infection, he may prescribe you some antibiotics and other medicines. To make the treatment work rapidly, drink enough fluid to prevent the risk of dehydration and take proper rest to fight the disease quickly.

Contagious period of type B

Now the question comes, how long is the flu contagious? Well, people affected by the type B flu virus tend to spread the disease from one day before getting diagnosed. The risk of spreading the condition lasts for a minimum of 3 to 4 days after the diagnosis. However, in some severe cases, it may last for more days.

How to prevent the virus from affecting you?

The safest way to prevent this viral infection is to take a flu shot.  Take your vaccine shot on time to remain secure during the season of the flue attack. Apart from the vaccination shot, there are few other ways to prevent the infection that includes less contact with the people or strangers during the flu outbreak.

 Type C influenza virus

Type C virus is considerably safes comported to the other two mentioned previously. If anyhow you catch the type C influenza virus, the aftereffects are not so painful or severe. Mild headache, cough, runny nose is the primary sufferings from this virus.

Diagnosing the type C flu virus:

Once you are getting the flu symptoms, run to the doctor as soon as possible. The doctor may ask you for the PCR or the Polymerase chain reaction test. This test is widely available in different hospitals and laboratories, so diagnosing it will not be severe.

The contagious period of type C

Now, you may be thinking about how long is the flu contagious? The type C virus is contagious as long as it stays in your body. The contagious flu period starts before your knowledge of the virus building shelter in your body. It generally starts from one or two days before the appearance of the symptoms and lasts for the next 5 to 7 days.

How to prevent the type C flu virus?

As there is no vaccination shot of the type C flu virus, you have to take simple precautions to avoid contact with this contagious virus. The first thing to do for safety is to avoid going out in the crowd during the flu outbreak. If it is not possible, try to cover your mouth and nose with a scarf while moving in public. The second thing to keep in mind is that you must wash your hands with sanitizer before taking any meal. Thirdly, eat food that improves your immune system.

Home remedies to fight with the flu viruses

As now you are aware of each type of flu as well as how long is the flu contagious? It is time for you to know that if your sickness is mild, you may treat is in your home with some simple tricks. Nevertheless, if your condition is in a severe stage, do not treat it with your own.  Few possible remedies to treat the infection include-

1. Drinking herbal tea

Herb tea is made with some powerful herbs that are rich in antibacterial and antiviral properties. A well-effective antiviral element named Tamiflu is extracted from a spice called star anise. This drug is often used to treat viral infections. Hence, you can use the spice to make your tea. Consuming hot herbal tea will treat both your disease and sore throat; it also provides relief to your sinuses.

2. Hot water rinse

A sore throat can give you an irritating mood and also severe pain. But, there is a home remedy to treat it within less time and effort. Rinsing with warm water along with some salt mixed with it can cure the soreness of your throat. Additionally, it helps to clean the mucus of your throat and your throat will get some relief. For this action, you need to heat the water mildly and add half a teaspoon of salt in it for regular-sized glass water. After that, pour it into your throat and rinse it thoroughly, then release the water and repeat it.

3. Consuming more zinc

Zinc is a well-known ingredient that helps in improving your immunity power. This mineral delivers proper nutrients to your body and increases the production of the white blood cells. These white blood cells fight against germs, bacteria and viruses that cause influenza infections. It also helps to slow down the development of the viruses in your body. Various zinc supplements are widely available in medical stores. However, if you want to intake the mineral naturally, eat shellfish, lentils, chickpeas, red meat, nuts, eggs, milk, etc.

4. Inhaling steam

This is another excellent way to treat the contagious influenza infection at home. Inhaling steam comforts your nose, throat, and lungs. The hot water steam also helps to loosen the mucus clogging from your lungs. To undergo this therapy, boil water until it is steaming hot and after that breathe in hot water.

5. Use essential oils

Few essential oils are available in the market to treat your flu infection. Essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil, cinnamon oil, etc have a remarkable amount of antiviral properties. Some studies show that tea tree oil shows its best action to stop the viruses from multiplying if it is used within a few hours of the infection. To practice, you can mix a few drops of oil with your mouth wash or with your sanitizer.

These are some basic ideas about the flu viruses to keep you alert about the disease.

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