How long is the flu contagious? The contagious period for the flu, also known as influenza, typically starts one day before symptoms appear and can last for about 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. However, for some individuals, particularly young children, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems, the contagious period may last longer.

It's important to note that people infected with the flu virus can spread it to others even before they feel sick. Moreover, some individuals, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, may continue to shed and spread the virus for an extended period, potentially for several days or even weeks.

Practicing good respiratory hygiene, such as covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and frequent handwashing can help reduce the risk of spreading the flu. Additionally, staying home from work or school while experiencing flu symptoms and for at least 24 hours after fever resolves without the use of fever-reducing medications can contribute to preventing the spread of the virus.

While the contagious period is a general guideline, individual cases can vary, and it's essential to consider the specific circumstances and the severity of symptoms in each case.