When flu season comes around, it is important to be extra vigilant to avoid catching the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with the flu can transmit the virus a day before they even begin to show symptoms. They will continue to be contagious for about five to seven days after they develop the symptoms. According to Flu.gov, children and people with compromised immune systems may be contagious for a longer period.
Although it is a good idea to wash your hands more frequently during flu season, people most often catch the flu when their mouth or nose comes into direct contact with respiratory moisture droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. You can also catch the flu by touching these droplets on a tissue, desk, or doorknob and then touching your mouth or nose. The best prevention is to get the annual flu vaccine.
If you have been exposed to the flu virus, it takes about one to four days for your symptoms to develop. Many people have trouble distinguishing the flu from a cold -- the flu often has a fever, whereas the typical cold does not. The flu also often includes muscle aches and chills. It's important to stay home if you're sick to avoid spreading the flu to others.