Learn how immunizing a critical portion of a community protects most members of the community.
A woman covers her nose and mouth when sneezing on an airplane.
Hand washing with soap and warm water can help people avoid becoming infected by flu virus. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand rub may be substituted. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes used by people who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you even know you are sick—as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults can infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to a week after becoming sick. Young children and people with weakened immune systems might be able to infect others for an even longer time. To avoid spreading the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that ill people stay home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone.
Last Updated November 16, 2012