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How Long Is the Flu Contagious?

Ever wonder how long you're contagious when you have the flu? 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days." People with weakend immune systems may be contagious for longer, as well.

If you have the flu (or any viral infection), please stay home from work, school and other gatherings to avoid spreading it to others. As a general rule of thumb, don't return to work or school until at least 24 hours after being free of fever (100° F [37.8° C]), or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications such as Tylenol, Motrin, or aspirin. You should also stay home if you have a cough that brings up mucus or other secretions, a runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Whether you're the one who's sick or the one who's trying to stay healthy, wash your hands frequently and thoroughly to avoid spreading germs!