During the flu season, I get asked a lot of questions about this predictable and sometimes deadly disease. Two of the most common questions are how long does the flu last and how long am I contagious.
How Long Does The Flu Last?
On average, if you come down with the flu, you can expect to deal with the effects for about one to two weeks. The most severe symptoms tend to last 2 to 3 days but the accompanying weakness, fatigue, dry cough, and a reduced ability to exercise can linger much longer.
How Long Am I Contagious?
As far as being contagious and knowing when it’s safe to go back out into the world…You will stay contagious between 5 days and a full week after you start feeling sick. What’s even more frightening is that you have the potential to be contagious even 1 day BEFORE you begin to feel the effects of the flu. Children may be contagious even longer. Stay home until your contagious period has passed and do your part to help avoid passing on this horrible illness to others.
In certain situations antiviral medicine is recommended to prevent complications or other illnesses, to shorten the amount of time that the virus is contagious, and to attempt to decrease the duration or severity of your symptoms.
If You Aren’t Getting Better
If your symptoms continue to worsen instead of improving as time goes on you might have a secondary bacterial infection such as pneumonia or sinusitis.