How long are you contagious with flu?

Flu is very contagious – but how long for? (Picture: Getty)

Winter is flu season – and this year, flu is circulating widely, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Official figures also show that more people are now in hospital with influenza than they are with Covid-19, with the admissions rate for children under 5 and adults over 85 rising sharply.

People are therefore being urged to take up the offer of a flu jab – and it’s also wise to be aware of symptoms, which include (among others) aches, a cough, diarrhoea or tummy pain, tiredness, and a high temperature.

If you are unlucky enough to catch flu this winter, you may be wondering how long you’ll be contagious for.

Here’s all you need to know.

How long are you contagious with flu?

You could be contagious for over a week, says the NHS (Picture: Getty)

If you’ve got the flu, you should be aware that it’s a very infectious illness.

If you do have it, you could be contagious for over a week – starting from the day before your symptoms show up.

The NHS website states: ‘You can spread flu from one day before your symptoms start and for a further three to seven days.

‘Children and people with lowered immune systems may be contagious for a few days longer.’

The health service also adds that ‘you’re more likely to give it to others in the first five days’ on its website – but either way, it’s key to follow guidance on stopping the spread.

Flu germs spread through coughs and sneezes, so keep some tissues on hand for catching them, keeping your mouth and nose covered.

Post-cough or sneeze, bin those tissues ASAP.

Keep your hands clean by washing with warm water and soap, and keep surfaces clean, too.

And if you’re feeling unwell or have a high temperature, the NHS says it’s best to try and stay home, avoiding other people while you’re unwell.

For more on flu symptoms, how to treat flu, and when to seek help from a medical professional, visit the NHS website.

MORE : Cheapest flu jabs 2022: How much is the UK vaccine at Asda, Boots, Tesco, and more?

MORE : Parents urged to vaccinate children under five amid surge in serious flu cases

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