Registered Massage Therapist
Member of the Massage Therapists' Association of Nova Scotia since 2000

The Halifax Professional Centre
5991 Spring Garden Road • Suite 577
Halifax, Nova Scotia • B3H 1Y6
902 • 580 • 2708


Flu - When am I Contagious?

Once again, we’re in the thick of flu season, and 2013 seems particularly intense. Many of you and your families have had the flu, are in the throes of it, or are feeling the first signs of illness. Some people are uncertain about when they are contagious and when they aren’t – and therefore they are uncertain about whether or not they should come in for a massage appointment.

People are showing up for appointments saying their throats just started hurting that day, they just started coughing, they just started sneezing, but it hasn’t really ‘hit them’ yet, so they think they are okay to come in for a massage. According to the Centres for Disease Control, 

"Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick."

Therefore, it's important to identify flu symptoms immediatelyI know it's tempting to tell yourself that you aren't sick or about to get sick so you can come in for your massage, especially when your symptoms involves aching muscles. How nice would it be to get a massage when your body feels sore all over? But I must ask you to be mindful about spreading your sickness to me and to my other clients. When I treat you, we are in very close physical proximity; if I am treating your neck and head, I am inches away from your face. After you leave my office there will be a number of other people coming in to the space you just left. If you are sick and you come in for a treatment, you are putting me and them at risk. 

In order to help you understand when you are and aren't contagious, I have put together a Q & A about the flu, based on information from the Centres for Disease Control. Please also read my post about sickness and my massage policies Be Healthy! Be Safe!

What is the flu?
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly.

What are flu symptoms?
People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  •  Headaches
  •  Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
  • *It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever
How does the flu spread?
People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.

When am I contagious?
Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 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 persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.