What Is the Flu Incubation Period?

By amara
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. (2020, August 31). Clinical signs & symptoms of influenza. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/acip/clinical.htm
  • 2. Ries, J. (2020, January 1). Sorry, you might get the flu twice this year — here's why. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/get-the-flu-twice-this-year
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Each year around September, advertisements for the flu shot pop up at your doctor’s office, pharmacies, and local healthcare clinics. Do you need a flu shot? How do you know you have the flu, anyway, and how long does it take to develop symptoms after you are infected?

Before you get sick, you likely have noticed that there are a few days beforehand during which you may feel unwell but not necessarily sick. Or you may feel nothing at all. This is called the incubation period.

1. What Is an Incubation Period?

When you catch a virus, there is a period of a few days up to a few weeks in which the virus lives in your body but does not yet cause the symptoms that make you feel sick. This incubation period for the flu is typically around one to four days.

During the incubation period, you are at risk for passing the germs onto others, although most “shedding” takes place when you are showing symptoms. It’s best to recognize when you have been exposed to a contagion to prevent coming into close contact with others during the incubation period.

Flu Incubation Period

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