Flu viruses are spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing by people with influenza. Sometimes people may become infected by touching something such as a surface or object with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. The virus can survive on a hard surface for as long as 48 hours and on paper or cloth 12 hours.
People sick with the flu may not exhibit symptoms for one to four days and can remain contagious for up to a week after becoming sick. To prevent becoming infected:
• 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. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you are sick with flu-like illness, it’s recommended you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone or seven days after the onset of symptoms.
To learn more about seasonal influenza, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.