Once an individual has been exposed to someone with the flu, acquiring the condition is usually the concern. The incubation period is the length after exposure until the individual becomes sick. Since flu has always been a concern in both children and adults, the incubation period of flu is amid 24 hours up to 4 days.
If an individual was exposed to the influenza virus and became infected, the symptoms typically manifest anywhere between 24 hours up to 4 days after being exposed. The flu symptoms do not occur in a gradual manner. In most cases, the individual describes the onset as a rapid one. The individual feels fine and suddenly feels sick after an hour.
Contagious nature of flu
A factor that contributes to the spread of flu is when exactly the individual is contagious. Unlike with other prevalent conditions that are only communicable during the start of the symptoms, the flu is contagious a day before the individual is sick. Due to this, the individual is likely to spread the virus before he/she know that he/she has the condition.
In addition, some individuals still push through their symptoms and go to school or work. This is why many are affected by the flu yearly. Once the symptoms start, adults are capable of spreading the virus for 5-10 days. On the other hand, the amount of virus that spreads drastically reduces after 3-5 days.
As for children, they can spread the virus up to 10 days or longer. Those who have serious immune system issues can also spread the virus for weeks or months after acquiring the condition.
Can the flu be prevented after exposure?
The best way to avoid acquiring the flu is the administration of the yearly flu vaccine. Although it is not fully effective in preventing the disease from developing, it provides a better chance of avoiding it. Once exposed to an infected individual, avoid close contact and wash hands regularly.
Even though vitamin C has been used and can provide a number of benefits, there is lack of proof that it can help avoid illnesses such as common cold or flu.
Based on studies, it revealed that viruses such as common cold and flu spread easily via cold, dry air. This is the reason why it is prevalent during the winter season. Using a humidifier during winter can help maintain the moistness of the nasal passages. Even though there is no guarantee that this can prevent sickness, it will not hurt to use one as long as kept clean properly.
If an individual is at high risk for complications from flu and exposed, a doctor should be consulted regarding antiviral medications. These can help prevent the condition in some individuals as well as reduce the severity of the symptoms.