New study suggests flu may be spread just by breathing

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests the flu may be spread just by breathing, not only by coughing or sneezing.

Researchers from multiple universities, including San Jose State and UC Berkeley, participated in the project, which was led by the University of Maryland.

The study's authors say that while washing your hands, keeping surfaces clean, and avoiding people who are coughing are still good preventative measures to take, they may not be enough to keep you totally safe. The takeaway? When someone is coming down with the flu, they should stay home, rather than going into work and putting others at risk.

Researchers captured and analyzed the influenza virus in exhaled breath from 142 confirmed cases of people with influenza. The study found that people with flu generate infectious aerosols even when they aren't coughing, and especially during the first few days of illness.

In many emergency rooms across California, physicians are feeling the strain on resources as more people come in because of the influenza virus.

The study, which took nearly five years to complete, was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the National Institutes of Health.
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