Infection Control & First Aid Blog

Is the Flu Contagious Through the Air?

[fa icon="calendar"] 2/1/18 8:45 AM / by Jill Tilton

The flu virus is known to spread through coughing, sneezing, and touching surfaces. But new research from the University of Maryland in College Park shows something new. People with the flu can spread the virus into the air around them just by breathing. Their research shows those who are infected with the virus generate tiny droplets that stay suspended within the air for a long time. This is true even when they aren't coughing or sneezing and happens the most within the first few days of illness.

the flu is contagious through the airThe University's research included 142 confirmed cases of people with influenza. The students who participated had to breathe, talk, cough, and sneeze into the "Gesundheit II machine" to collect the data. Approximately 50 percent of the collected samples did not come from coughing. Also, the few sneezes that they were able to observe suggested that sneezing does not make a significant contribution to the influenza virus shedding within the air.

Within the U.S., the number of people who have caught the flu every year since 2010 spans from 9.2 million to 35.6 million people. Those who have been hospitalized range between 140,000 and 710,000, as those who have died range between 12,000 and 56,000.

The best protection from the flu would be to stay home and out of public spaces where people who are infected may be. This is especially important if you are the one that is infected.

What is the life cycle of the flu?

One of the most crucial questions that will pop up in everyone's mind is; when is the moment someone
is contagious with the flu? Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

Children are a bit of a different circumstance here, because they can actually pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

lifecycle of the flu infographic(Reference:

How can Safetec Help?

Safetec manufactures products that help prevent the spread of widespread germs. The disinfecting of surfaces and objects, as well as washing your hands, plays a significant role in the prevention of influenza.

Hand Hygiene Products from Safetec

Safetec Instant Hand Sanitizer

This hand sanitizer is formulated with an enriched moisturizing agent to condition and preserve skin’s health, while preventing the spread of germ causing illnesses and infections. Containing 66.5% ethyl alcohol, the formula kills 99.9% of widespread germs and is scented with a pleasant fresh or citrus  fragrance. Meets OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard 1910.1030 and CDC hand washing recommendations in the absence of soap and water

p.a.w.s.® Antimicrobial Hand Wipe

Formulated with 66.5% ethyl-alcohol to help meet CDC, APIC and OSHA hand washing recommendations and aloe vera to add moisture with each use. p.a.w.s.® wipes not only kill 99.99% of germs, but also remove debris and soil from hands and under fingernails, an important function in the absence of soap and water.

SaniWash® Antimicrobial Hand Soap

It uses PCMX for antimicrobial action and has aloe vera for added moisture with each use. The SaniWash® aids in reducing the risk of cross-contamination while helping meet APIC and OSHA hand washing recommendations.

Surface Disinfectant ProductsSaniZide Pro® Surface Disinfectant

This hospital grade, EPA registered formula can disinfect a surface in just 2 minutes! It is an alcohol-based, ready-to-use, multi-purpose broad spectrum disinfectant/ deodorizer for hard and soft non-porous surfaces. This formula is non-corrosive, contains no harmful bleach, or phenol and is fragrance free.

SaniZide Plus® Surface Disinfectant

A convenient, fast-acting, multi-purpose, broad-spectrum disinfectant/deodorizer for environmental surfaces. Our alcohol-free formulation is a non-corrosive, EPA registered, quaternary ammonium compound.

One Final Note

Once you touch an infected object; if you touch your mouth or face within 15 minutes – you have the risk of getting the flu virus in your system.

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Topics: Influenza Season, Flu Prevention, Cold and Flu

Jill Tilton

Written by Jill Tilton

As the Digital Marketing Strategist, Jill works on strengthening the Safetec website and brand. She optimizes the website to its peak potential and suggests different marketing techniques to bring in qualified leads to the sales team. She also works with online marketplaces such as Amazon, ESP, and ThomasNet to generate additional revenue. In her off time, Jill enjoys spending time with her family.