Mission: To save lives and reduce hospitalizations by protecting children, families, and communities against influenza.
Insights on Influenza
  • Flu Facts
  • Flu Prevention

I (Think) I Have the Flu…Now What Do I Do?

woman in bed with tea
Posted on February 10, 2023
Share this article:

It has happened to most of us; we are enjoying a get-together with family and/or friends, and a few days later, we get the dreaded text…someone has the flu. You have been exposed to influenza, so now what? How long do I wait for symptoms? When do I test? What happens if I test positive? So many questions, but not to worry, we have you covered! We recommend the following if you are exposed to the flu (or feel like you may be coming down with something).

If you’re not currently experiencing symptoms, get the flu vaccine: The annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent becoming sick with the flu. This will give you the best opportunity to avoid the flu (or the severity of it) this season.

If you are exposed, flu symptoms may start suddenly (unlike colds). Symptoms appear about one to four days after a person is exposed to the flu. It is best to wear a mask during this time to avoid potential spread to others. Look for symptoms like fatigue, fever, chills, a cough or sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headache and muscle aches. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea (most common in children).

If you start to experience symptoms, test. Contact your medical professional or visit your local urgent care and ask for a flu test as soon as possible. This way, if you do test positive, you can start an antiviral medication to lessen symptoms and potentially shorten the contagious period. Remember, you are most contagious from 24 hours before symptoms start until at least three to five days into the illness. If you need to be around other people, it is imperative that you wear a mask to protect others around you.

Important note! If you test negative for the flu, ask for other tests to rule out COVID and RSV. If you have symptoms of something, it is best to rule out as many illnesses as possible to find the best treatment options and to protect those around you by identifying what you have.

While you are sick, begin an antiviral medication (if a medical professional prescribes it). Get plenty of rest, stay hydrated, and take fever-reducing medications if your doctor recommends them. Keep your hands washed and disinfect your living space as much as possible to avoid spreading your germs. Also, avoid going out if possible and if you must be in public, make sure to wear a mask.

Even if you are starting to feel better, stay home. The flu can be contagious before symptoms start and the flu is still contageous up to 10 days after you begin to feel ill. It is best to stay home and continue to wear a mask around others until you are symptom-free.

It’s not too late to vaccinate! If you have not received your flu vaccination yet, it is not too late! Check with your doctor or local pharmacy to schedule. This is the best way to protect yourself and those around you!







You might also be interested in...

Test and Treat to Protect Grandparents
5 Tips for Flu Prevention at the Workplace
Why Vaccinating Kids Matters for Their Health and the Community
Stay Informed
Sign up for our Weekly Flu News and quarterly newsletter, Fighting Influenza, to stay up-to-date on the latest flu news.


You are required to accept all of the terms and conditions in this License Agreement in order to receive a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FAMILIES FIGHTING FLU, INC. logo, displayed below (the “FFF Logo”), from Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (“FFF”). In order to accept these terms and conditions, you must click the “I Accept” button below.

  1. FFF hereby grants to you, and you accept, a limited, non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-assignable, royalty-free license to use the FFF Logo, which you may download and use solely in online and print earned media publications for a period of no more than six (6) months in the United States.
  2. You acknowledge that the FFF Logo is a valid trademark; that FFF is the sole owner of the FFF Logo; and that FFF retains all right, title, and interest in and to the FFF Logo. You agree that any and all use that you make of the FFF Logo, and any and all goodwill arising from your use of the FFF Logo, shall inure exclusively to the benefit of FFF.  You also agree that you shall not challenge the validity of the FFF Logo or FFF’s ownership or title thereto during the term of the License Agreement or thereafter.
  3. You agree that you shall use the FFF Logo only in the form shown above, and that you shall not alter, modify, change, or edit the FFF Logo in any manner.
  4. You acknowledge the valuable goodwill and reputation in the FFF Logo, and that it is essential that the high standards and reputation associated with the FFF Logo be maintained. You therefore agree to use the FFF Logo consistent with the highest standards of quality so as to protect and maintain the FFF Logo and FFF’s rights therein.
  5. FFF shall have the right to review and inspect your use of the FFF Logo at any time. FFF, in its sole discretion, may determine that you are not using the FFF Logo in an acceptable manner and require that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo.  To the extent that FFF requires that you discontinue your use of the FFF Logo, you agree that you shall remove the FFF Logo from all online and print earned media publications as soon as practicable under the circumstances, and that you shall not use the FFF at any time in the future.
  6. You must include the following notice in connection with any use of the FFF Logo: “The Families Fighting Flu, Inc. logo is the registered trademark of Families Fighting Flu, Inc.”
I Accept