Cold: How long am I contagious?
Contagious even without symptoms
For a long time, the common cold was thought to be contagious only when symptoms became noticeable. However, we now know that influenza infection is actually contagious even if no symptoms appear yet. Even people who do not yet know or notice that they have been infected with cold viruses are already contagious. Therefore, the incubation period is already considered the period of infection. If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, you are likely still contagious and should be especially careful when coming into contact with those around you to avoid transmitting the infection.
Most contagious with the first symptoms
Once the first typical cold symptoms appear, they become more contagious. In the first two or three days after symptoms appear, viruses suddenly multiply in the body. Now signs such as coughing, sneezing and heavy nasal discharge appear. These are the best ways to spread viruses, which attach to aerosols and spread when sneezing, coughing or through infection. Therefore, if you have a runny nose and itchy throat, you should avoid contact, wash your hands regularly and definitely keep your distance from others, because this is the time when you are most infectious.
Contagious for about a week
Once the strongest symptoms subside after a few days, the viral load in your body also decreases. Now your immune system takes control and effectively fights the spread of viral invaders. You are now starting to feel better and better. This encourages many people to take an active role in public life again. But be careful and continue to protect those around you, because you are still contagious. Depending on your condition and immune system, you may still be contagious even after a week. If possible, stay home or work from home. Pay special attention to hygiene and regularly ventilate rooms to reduce the viral load in the air.
Also interesting: The best tips to effectively shorten the duration of colds > >
Tips to avoid transmitting the infection to those around you
Of course, very few people can afford to remain isolated at home with a cold that has almost completely resolved, because it may still be contagious. Work, family, shopping and social obligations cannot simply be paused.
Fortunately, there are some simple tips and behaviors you can use to participate in public life again without the risk of infecting those around you with cold viruses.
Wear a mask on public transportation: During peak hours, public transportation is completely crowded everywhere. The risk of infection is particularly high on poorly ventilated buses and trains where people stand close together. Just wear a surgical mask here, or better yet an FFP2 mask. This significantly reduces the aerosols you release into the environment.
Hand disinfection: Before you touch things in the office or home that are also used by people around you, sanitize your hands. It is also important to wash your hands regularly to prevent you from transmitting pathogens through contact with grease.
Avoid crowds: Unless you have fully recovered or still feel sick, avoid crowds. Whenever possible, you should switch to private transportation such as your bicycle or e-bike. You should also consider those around you when using elevators. Ride alone in elevators and do not squeeze yourself into crowded elevators.
Am I contagious longer with the flu than with a cold?
As a general rule, we are contagious with influenza for longer than with colds. Influenza viruses tend to be more aggressive and have a higher infectiousness than the viruses that cause the common cold. This allows them to spread more easily and stay longer in the body. In addition, the amount of viruses in the body (viral load) can be higher in the case of influenza than in the case of a common cold. A higher viral load means a greater amount of viruses are secreted, which increases the risk of infection.
In addition, the flu usually causes more serious symptoms than the common cold. Coughing, sneezing, and releasing droplets containing the virus can continue throughout the illness, increasing the risk of infection.
Also interesting: Get rid of a cold quickly: how to fight it in one day >>
“Tv expert. Hardcore creator. Extreme music fan. Lifelong twitter geek. Certified travel enthusiast. Baconaholic. Pop culture nerd. Reader. Freelance student.”