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Back up: Flu can travel up to 6 feet

Thursday - 2/14/2013, 5:02am  ET

WASHINGTON - If you're avoiding cozily snuggling up this Valentine's Day because of the flu, there may be bad news. Keeping your distance may not be enough.

Scientists at the Wake Forest School of medicine found that someone sick with the flu can send infected particles flying as far as 6 feet. This is farther than previously thought.

The New York Times reports that researchers at the school looked at 94 sick people with flulike symptoms. As part of their research, they collected air samples after patients had coughed or sneezed.

Sixty-one of the six individuals tested positive for the flu and nearly half, 26 people, sent those particles into the air. The sickest fifth of patients released 32 times more of the virus than the rest. Researchers found anyone within 6 feet was exposed.

The results of the study were published in The Journal of Infestious Diseases.

WTOP's Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.