How does the flu spread?

The main way that influenza viruses are spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. (This is called droplet spread). This can happen when droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person are propelled (generally up to 3 feet) through the air and deposited on the mouth or nose of people nearby.

Though much less frequent, the viruses also can be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else's mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

Show All Answers

1. What are the symptoms of the flu?
2. When is the flu season in the United States?
3. How does the flu spread?
4. What is Influenza (flu)?
5. Does the flu have complications?
6. How do I find out if I have the flu?
7. How soon will I get sick if I am exposed to the flu?
8. How long is a person with flu virus contagious?
9. How many people get sick or die from the flu every year?