What is Influenza and how is it transmitted?

Influenza is an acute viral infection which spreads from person to person as droplets in the air from sneezing, coughing or touching infected surfaces.

The incubation period is usually around 1–4 days and infected persons may pass the viruses to other people 1 day before and up to 5–7 days after they develop symptoms. The period may be even longer in young children.

For healthy individuals, seasonal influenza is usually self-limiting lasting about a week. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle pain, fatigue and headache, with or without vomiting and diarrhoea. Whilst most symptoms resolve quickly, the cough is often severe and fatigue can be prolonged.

Influenza Management:


  • Have adequate rest and drink plenty of water.
  • Refrain from work or school when having symptoms of influenza. Seek medical advice if symptoms persist or deteriorate.
  • Antibiotics which target bacterial infection but not viral infection will not cure influenza or make recovery faster.
  • Antiviral agents may reduce severity and duration of illness but must be used under doctor's prescription.


To protect yourself, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) recommends consulting your doctor for the influenza vaccination and to consider the following precautions:


  • Build up good body immunity through a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.
  • Maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.
  • Seek medical advice promptly if symptoms of respiratory tract infection or fever develop.
  • Cover nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing and dispose of tissues properly.
  • Keep hands clean and wash hands properly and regularly.
  • Make healthy food choices and drink plenty of water

Further information at the CHP website: