MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Doctors say you’re contagious with the influenza virus either seven days after the onset of your symptoms or 24 hours after your fever breaks. During this time, you should keep away from work to prevent spreading the virus.

But many people are choosing not to take this long. According to Dr. Beth Averbeck, who practices internal medicine at HealthPartners, going to work while contagious is one of the major reasons why influenza spreads so fast.

“We shouldn’t feel guilty about staying home. And all of us do sort of feel some sort of guilt, like somehow we’re letting down or colleagues, except actually we are protecting our colleagues,” Averbeck said.

It’s when your symptoms are in full gear that you are the most contagious. Dr. Averbeck says it’s important to pay attention to your fever. Put simply – fever equals contagious.

Averbeck adds that when you stay home, you’re able to do critical things necessary for your body’s recovery.

“When you stay home, first of all you want to take care of yourself, because you want to maximize your own health; so that’s resting, and drinking fluid, eating healthy foods,” said Averbeck.

Staying home from work also means you’re protecting others.

“Part of it is if you go and you expose three people, and they go and they expose three people each, that’s how the virus spreads,” she said.

As for flu prevention, Dr. Averbeck says get vaccinated.


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