Flu incubation period

No one wants to end up with the flu, but at some point in time, one will surely end up with the virus. If an individual was exposed to someone who has the flu, the time span it will take to get sick is called the incubation period. This is the time between exposure to the flu virus and when the symptoms start to manifest. In general, the flu incubation period is limited, usually between 1-4 days and averages to 2 days. It simply indicates that approximately 2 days after acquiring the virus; the individual will have high fever, cough and aches all over the body.

When can I catch the flu?

Any individual can pass on the flu to others starting from the first day before they feel sick until 5 days after they start feeling sick. Doctors call this as the “infectious period” where children have a longer period than the adults. They are contagious for about 2 days before being sick until 10 days after.

In some cases, an individual can spread the flu before he/she is aware that he/she is sick or while still in the flu incubation period. Due to this, it can be difficult to prevent others from getting sick. This is why it is vital to cover the nose and mouth at all times when sneezing or coughing.


When do I get the flu?

Some individuals carry the flu virus and infect others. In most cases, it would require close distance, usually an arm’s distance to spread the virus. The flu virus spreads rapidly when many individuals are present in a certain area such as airplanes, hospitals and schools.

Once a sick individual sneezes or coughs, the virus floats on the droplets in the air and anyone can breathe in these droplets. The virus eventually works its way into the system. In case the body could not fight it off, the virus can make the individual sick.


There are various ways to prevent one from acquiring the flu. With the help of these measures, getting the flu can be prevented.

  • Always wash hands regularly to eliminate any virus-containing droplets
  • Keep the hands away from the face and mouth to keep the virus out of the body
  • Avoid exposure to individuals who are sick
  • In case exposure to sick individuals could not avoided, being healthy can greatly help since the immune system can fight off the flu
  • Get enough rest and eat a balanced diet to keep the body in good shape
  • Get the yearly flu vaccine to stay healthy throughout the flu season

Who are at high risk for flu?

It is vital that you are familiar who face the highest risk for the flu and who will end up with the most severe symptoms if the condition is acquired. The elderly, children and individuals with weakened immune systems are more likely to end up with the flu. Take note that these groups should consult a doctor as soon as possible if the symptoms become severe.


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