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What Is The Incubation Period For Flu

Updated on September 12, 2012

Incubation Period For Flu

Understanding the root causes that led to a flu are essential to outlining a tailored healing strategy that works. Chances are, either you're here because you'll want to nail the culprit, or simply because you are beginning to feel a little woozy and want to know how long you have before you get sick(er).

Whatever your motivation may be, I have tried to be concise by condensing as much information as possible so that you will be on your way in a couple of minutes at most. As always, be advised that my research and advice in no way substitutes a trip to a medical professional! But if you'd prefer a quick rundown of facts regarding the flu and it's incubation period, you've come to the right place!

Flu Incubation Facts

It can take as little as a couple of days to develop the symptoms of influenza after having contracted it. Most cases of the flu will involve an incubation period of one to four days. Here is a list of ways you could have initially been exposed to the virus:

  • Direct Exposure - If someone directly sneezed or coughed on you. This is unfortunately a very common occurrence in close quarters such as on public transportation, school or in a busy area. But by far the most cases of the flu are transmitted indirectly.
  • Indirect Exposure - The flu is highly contagious, which means that all it takes is brief, indirect contact to come down the flu. A couple of common scenarios are touching doorknobs, railings, handles or other commonly gripped accessories that have been touched by someone who had the flu before you. A person with the flu can sneeze and contaminate anything within three feet with high contagious droplets which are easily picked up.

There are a number of ways you can help prevent transmission. Carrying an anti-septic handwash and using it every so often can help neutralize hand to mouth transmission. It is best used after any kind of trip through a crowded area, and before and after eating.

Taking a flu vaccination has been proven to reduce your chances of developing one, but other considerations have made flu vaccinations something of a hot-topic. Personally, I'm all for it.

Your health also depends on others, so don't shy away from urging family members and children to take extra precautions. Children under 2 (because they have no had the time to build an efficient immune system yet) are particularly vulnerable and should be shielded constantly during flu seasons.

Fighting The Flu Naturally

If you feel the onset of the flu (read below for symptoms), here are a number of natural home remedies you can employ to fight it before it develops fully.

  • Drink a lot of water to help the body flush out toxins.
  • Herbal supplements such as garlic and echinacea have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Take vitamin D.
  • Strengthen your immune system with yogurt.
  • Get lots of rest.

Flu Symptoms

Here are some tell-tale signs you either have, or are developing a flu and that it's time to take a time-out from your everyday social life.

  • A fever.
  • Dry coughing, sneezing or a runny nose.
  • General fatigue and malaise.
  • Headaches and feelings of compression of the skull.
  • Muscle aches and pains.

Remember that if you feel any of these symptoms, even mildly, then you are contagious. Once you have been explosed to the virus, you can then pass it on, even without symptoms. The same goes for once you think it has cleared up. Always be extra careful of contagion for a few days after you feel better. Children usually remain contagious longer than adults (sometimes over seven days).

This concludes this rather short and concise article on flu incubation. For any comments, criticisms of suggestions, please use the comments section below and I'll get back to you as soon as humanly possible!


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    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      These are super tips! I found that the best thing for flu is drinking lots of vitamins (like orange juice) and bed rest, preferably sleeping it off. Great tips, voted up!!

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      6 years ago from Austin, TX

      Good info!

    • blairtracy profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      Great information. I hope it helps to prevent at least some of us from getting the flu this season!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I was unfortunate enough to have the flu recently. I didn't even realise that anybody around me had been ill, but as you say it may well have been due to indirect exposure. I'm quite a fidgety individual, and so may have touched an infested source followed by my my face. I ought to be more careful!

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James D. Preston 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Thanks for your kind comments Kristen -- may you remain flu free! ;)

    • Kristen Haynie profile image

      Kristen Haynie 

      7 years ago from Modesto, CA

      Thanks for this! Flu season is in full swing and we all need to be aware of how to prevent and contain it. This is great information, and is very helpful! I had no idea that the flu had such a long incubation period, and I always thought you weren't contagious once you started feeling better! Thank you!

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James D. Preston 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Sorry to here it Moonlake! Take good care of yourself, and thank you for your comments and time!

    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      I'm just getting over flu got it the day after Thanksgiving but it was stomach flu. Lost 4 lbs. I'm still weak today. I need to run into town but worried I'm in a weak condition and may pick up another flu because of it.

      Good Hub


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