- It might be possible to spread the flu just by breathing, no coughing or sneezing required.
- The air is particularly full of virus in the early stage of the infection.
- The take-home message is to stay away from other people when you’re sick with flu-like symptoms, even if you’re not coughing.
For years, you’ve been told to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, especially when you’re sick. But a new study finds that it might be possible to spread the flu just by breathing, no coughing or sneezing required.
Researchers at the University of Maryland found an infectious virus in the air flu patients exhaled. The analysis of 142 flu patients found they were more likely to deposit the virus into the air around them during the early stage of their infection, precisely in the first few days, they showed symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, aching body, fatigue).
There are several types of flu circulating around the world but H3N2 is notoriously the most aggressive strain, though it's not clear why. Experts believe it has a lot to do with the fact that the vaccines are less effective, and it seems to attack bodies more forcefully, causing more deaths.
H3N2 is one of the most common strains seen so far this winter and the same one that made 2014 the worst flu season in recent history.
According to health professionals, the take-home message is to stay away from other people when you’re sick with flu-like symptoms, even if you’re not coughing. Staying home could make a real difference.
Health officials around the world are urging everyone to get their flu shot and say it is not too late to protect yourself from the virus.
COPYRIGHT: This article is the property of We Speak Science, a non-profit institution co-founded by Dr. Detina Zalli (Harvard University) and Dr. Argita Zalli (Imperial College London). The article is written by Harmela Sinanaj (University of Medicine, Tirana)