How long does the flu incubate?

The flu It is a highly contagious respiratory disease of viral origin (flu viruses) whose symptoms are very similar to those of a cold (rhinovirus) but generally more intense.

According to data provided by the National Epidemiology Center, each year an average of 10% of the population suffer from the flu in Spainalthough each year it can vary from 5 to 20%.

This incidence rate can increase if we segment by population groups, being considerably higher in the elderly and children.

The flu virus is highly contagious and during the incubation period is when more infections occur due to the fact that adequate prevention measures are not taken when symptoms are not noticed.

The incubation period

The flu incubation period can go from 1 to 4 days since the virus enters the body until the first symptoms appear.

According to the Center for Disease Control, a person can begin to infect others from one day before symptoms appear to 3-7 days afterward. Children can continue to transmit the virus for more than 7 days from the onset of symptoms3.

The flu has a seasonal high grade. Flu season typically begins in early fall and peaks in midwinter. For example, in Spain they usually start in October having and reach the maximum in January - February1.

The Most cases of the flu are caused by contagion. When a person with the flu, or carrier of the influenza virus, coughs or sneezes, the virus is expelled into the air and can infect people who are nearby.

The spread of the flu can also occur, although much less frequently, if we touch our nose or mouth after our hands have been exposed to the virus. For this reason, one of the main prevention measures is to wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth when coughing.

The main symptoms of the flu are: fever, headache, a lot of fatigue and tiredness, cough, muscle pain and congestion or runny nose.

The flu shot

There is a flu vaccine that can reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Nevertheless, its effectiveness is not very high due to because the influenza virus undergoes many mutations and therefore the vaccine loses effectiveness.

For this reason, currently in Spain it is administered only to patients in risk groups such as the elderly and patients with other diseases that could be complicated if they contract the flu.

The flu vaccine can be found in two presentations: an injection that contains the killed virus or a nasal spray that contains the live but weakened virus.

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