Flu Incubation Period


The flu incubation period is about two to four days. After that time, symptoms of influenza can develop. What happens during the flu incubation period, the two to four days between the time you first come in contact with the flu virus and the time symptoms of influenza develop, is that your body tries to fight off the virus. Of course, if your body is successful, you never will develop symptoms. However, the flu is highly contagious and there is a good chance that if you are exposed to the flu, you will get sick. How well your body fights the virus will determine how long you will be sick for and how severe your symptoms will be.

You should know that people with the flu can be contagious even during this flu incubation period, before they develop symptoms. That's why the commonly-heard advice to simply avoid people who are sick doesn't always work to keep you from catching the flu.




One of the best ways to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. You have to get one each year because the virus mutates. Last year's vaccine won't protect you this year. Some people worry about catching the flu from a flu shot, but this is not really possible because the flu vaccine is not made from live flu virus. However, the flu shot can cause some side effects that can resemble symptoms of influenza, like muscle aches and a low-grade fever.

There is also a homeopathic remedy called Instant Immunity that can be used to prevent the flu. You take it during the flu season. We'll tell you more about BaniFlu in a moment.

There are antiviral medications available by prescription that shorten the duration of the flu. They work by preventing the virus from replicating itself. In order for these to be effective, you need to take then within 24 to 48 hours of developing symptoms of influenza. They may also help prevent you from getting flu symptoms in the first place if you take them during the flu incubation period, between the time that you have been exposed to the flu and the time that you first develop symptoms. See your doctor if you want a prescription.

Antiviral medications do have some side effects, though not everyone who takes them experiences side effects from them. They can cause nausea, vomiting, confusion, other mental status changes, and skin reactions. You should also understand that it's not necessary to take antiviral medications to get over the flu, at least not in most cases. In most cases, the virus simply runs its course in a week or so. Antiviral medications simply speed the healing process.

There are a number of over-the-counter medications available to treat the symptoms of influenza. These medications are not a cure for the flu nor do they speed the recovery process, they just help you feel better. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about which over-the-counter medications would be best for you.

Alternatively, some people prefer to use natural remedies to treat the flu. Natural remedies are gentle on the body, don't carry the risk of side effects that antiviral medications and over-the-counter drugs carry, and may be beneficial to one's overall health.

See your doctor in the fall if you want to get a flu shot. If you want to try antiviral medications, see your doctor as soon as you develop flu symptoms or during the flu incubation period if possible. If you get the flu, you may be able to treat it with over-the-counter drugs or homeopathic remedies. However, you should see your doctor if your symptoms are very severe, if symptoms last longer than one week, if you have a very high fever, if you have pre-existing conditions, or if you have trouble breathing.





More than the flu incubation period on our symptoms of the flu page

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