Home The Book Dr Articles Products Message Boards Journal Articles Search Our Surveys Surgery ESWT Dr Messages Find Good Drs video

At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

Posted by Ellen J. on 12/21/03 at 10:25 (140470)

Well, I caught the good old flu yesterday and will have to cancel plans to visit relatives so I avoid giving anyone the flu. What I'm wondering is, if anyone knows if the flu is contagious when you don't have the runny nose/coughing yet, and only have the body aches and headache. I keep hoping I'm not contagious unless I cough or get a runny nose. Also, does anyone know how long a person is contagious for?
Sorry my letter is as fuzzy as my brain is today.
Ellen J.

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

Carole C in NOLA on 12/21/03 at 10:45 (140473)

Ellen, I am so sorry to hear that you got the flu!!!

As to your question about whether or not the early stages are contagious, yes they are (although you may not be coughing and sneezing droplets with germs into the air). My suggestion would be to stay away from older relatives and babies, or at least use a surgical mask when in the same room.

An old wives' tale has it that when your fever breaks, you are no longer contagious. But with THIS flu, I'd suggest erring on the cautious side. People will understand because of the special nature of flu this year.

Moving on to the facts, here's a great website by the CDC which tells you just about everything you might want to know about flu:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/

I hope this helps. Get well soon!

Carole C

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

marie on 12/21/03 at 14:37 (140490)

I'm home with the flu.....alone. My hubby's family is celebrating today. I opted to stay here as not to get anyone else sick. I hate the flu.:((

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

Ellen J. on 12/21/03 at 18:40 (140503)

Thanks, Carole.
That was a huge help and gives me some guidelines. I figure that if I'm sick I won't go to the gathering at all because I'm thinking that I might touch a sink faucet or door handle and give it to someone. My parents are in their 70's and 80's and my 4 yr. old nephew will be there. I tried to go to a walk-in care facility to get some sleeping pills (the flu keeps you wide awake all night) and it was jammed with flu victims coughing and sneezing so I left.
Thanks for the link--I will be very interested to check it out after I type my messages here. I hope you and everyone else has a happy and healthy holiday (Christmas, Hanukkah, whatever the holiday).
Ellen J.

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

Ellen J. on 12/21/03 at 18:45 (140505)

Hi Marie,
I can sure identify--and it's so boring to sit on the couch all day! I was trying to go drug-free (no aspirin, etc.) but finally my boyfriend made me take a couple of Advil after reading the 101 degree thermometer. I was amazed at how much better I felt! Prior to that I had been lying on the couch, bad headache, nausea and muscle aches but right now I'm enjoying the drug-induced illusion that I'm better!
I'm sorry you are feeling lousy. Don't eat sugar but do eat lots of salads and raw veggies. I also eliminate my pet drug, caffeine while having the flu and all that seems to shorten the duration.
Hope you are feeling better soon, before the holidays.
Ellen

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

marie on 12/22/03 at 10:34 (140552)

Thanks, Ellen.

I feel a little better today...of course my sinuses are a mess now. I'm such a whiney person when I'm sick.

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

wendyn on 12/22/03 at 11:40 (140557)

marie - I know a few people who have had that flu (actually everyone in my family except me)....it's a nasty bug - I hope you feel better soon!

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

Ellen J. on 12/22/03 at 13:47 (140573)

Marie-
I'm glad you are feeling better! Keep taking care of yourself so you can enjoy the holidays as much as possible. It is a really nasty, nasty flu--quite painful body aches!
Ellen J.

Re: At what point is the flu contagious, does anyone know?

marie on 12/22/03 at 16:07 (140594)

Ellen,

I wish the same for you. Carole was right about the chicken soup...it's really working.

marie