Skip Navigation
Search

Flu Basics

Author(s): Sonia Rahmati Clayton, PhD, and Nancy Moreno, PhD

Flu: Transmission and Symptoms

Flu spreads through the air, in droplets and small particles emitted when infected individuals cough or sneeze. Flu also can be spread when someone touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches his or her own mouth or nose. Symptoms include high fever (102-104°F), headache, sore throat, non-productive and dry cough, muscle aches, some gastrointestinal problems, and extreme tiredness.

A person can spread the flu one day before he or she feels any symptoms, and remains contagious for three to seven days after symptoms begin.

Most people recover from flu within one to two weeks. However, others may develop life threatening complications, such as bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions.