Coming down with the flu? Here's why you shouldn't leave the house

Susana and Dmitri Daniarov owners of Greenwich Pharmacy

Susana and Dmitri Daniarov owners of Greenwich Pharmacy

People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from an infected person's coughs or sneezes or by touching contaminated surfaces.

"So, when someone is coming down with influenza, they should go home and not remain in the workplace and infect others".

The study was published online January 18 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Aussie flu has spread across the United Kingdom, and 485 people have been hospitalised by the deadly viral infection since the beginning of October.

The team recruited volunteers with flulike illness on the University of Maryland's College Park campus and surrounding areas from December 2012 through March 2013.

The best way to prevent flu infection is to complete avoid people altogether, they concluded.

For the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the participants provided 218 nasopharyngeal swabs and 218 half-an-hour samples of exhaled breath, spontaneous coughing, and sneezing on the first, second, and third days after the onset of symptoms.

"People with flu generate infectious aerosols even when they are not coughing, and especially during the first days of illness". They were surprised to find that 11 (48%) of the 23 fine aerosol samples acquired when patients weren't coughing had detectable viral RNA, and of those 8 contained infectious virus, suggesting that coughing isn't a prerequisite for generating fine aerosol droplets.

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However, the new study, led by the University of Maryland, has found evidence to suggest that avoiding those who are coughing and sneezing as well as washing hands regularly may not be enough to avoid passing the virus on to others.

In the few sneezes captured by the Gesundheit machine, investigators didn't see greater viral RNA copy numbers in coarse or fine aerosols, hinting that sneezing doesn't make as important a contribution as virus shed through aerosols.

Ehrman emphasizes the importance of staying home if you fall victim from the flu.

This suggested coughing was not necessary for infectious aerosol generation in the fine aerosol droplets. Of the 23 aerosol samples that were obtained without coughing, almost half (48 percent) contained detectable levels of flu virus, and eight samples (about 35 percent) contained infectious virus.

He recommended the public to stay at least six feet (about 1.8 meters) away from anyone with influenza, "not just those who are sneezing and coughing, but anyone talking!"

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.

Health officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot and say it is not too late to protect yourself from the virus.

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