Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you get influenza from human feces?"
I would like to know if you can get the influenza virus from human feces?
Influenza virus as you know is one of the most common causes of fever, respiratory symptoms, and aches and pains. It tends to cycle throughout the year, with the peak of infections in the winter months. The influenza virus primarily infects the respiratory tract, although it can also cause other symptoms, such as red eyes, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and muscles aches. Nevertheless, the primary way the virus is transmitted is in the respiratory secretions. These can be transmitted in two different ways, either by direct contact (for example, shaking hands with someone who has coughed on themselves and then rubbing your own mouth) or indirectly (particles of respiratory secretions that get sneezed or coughed out and float in the air). Contact with other body surfaces and fluids is less important for transmission of the virus. Based on this, it follows that protecting yourself from the virus involves taking care to wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with infected surfaces. Also, people with flu symptoms are advised to stay home to avoid coughing or sneezing the virus into the air and to cover the mouth and nose when the cough or sneeze for the same reason. Please talk to your doctor, who will be able to give you more information about this as it pertains to your health.
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