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Q and A: Influenza and your Family
Family meeting

Q: For how long can an infected person spread this virus to others?
People infected with influenza will shed virus and may be able to infect others from one day before they start to feel sick until five to seven days after recovery. If you get sick, remember to stay home and keep sick children home until fever has been gone for 24 hours.

Q: What should I do if I get sick?
If you become ill with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people. Staying at home means you should not leave the building except to seek medical care. Avoid normal activities including work, school, travel, shopping, and social and public gatherings. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides. While at home, get plenty of rest, drink clear liquids, cover your coughs and sneezes, and watch for emergency warning signs (see below) that might indicate you need medical attention.

Q: When should I see a doctor?
If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, call your health care provider, who will determine whether flu testing or treatment is needed. If you or your children become ill and experience any of the following warning signs, seek emergency medical care:

In children, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Bluish or gray skin color
  • Not drinking enough fluids
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Not waking up or not interacting
  • A child who is so irritable that he/she does not want to be held
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough
  • Fever with a rash

In adults, emergency warning signs that need urgent medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and cough

Q: What if I’m ill and don’t have a healthcare provider or insurance?
If you have a severe symptom, such as sustained high fever or difficulty breathing, or you believe that you require immediate medical attention, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency department. If you feel you need to see a doctor regarding your flu symptoms, but don’t have health insurance or a regular doctor, call SAFENET at 211 for referral to a nearby, low-cost clinic.