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Doctor insights on: How Long Is A Common Cold Contagious

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How long is a common cold contagious for? And are we contagious even before symptoms appear?

How long is a common cold contagious for? And are we contagious even before symptoms appear?

Common cold: This condition can be caused by a large variety of viruses, the most common is rhinovirus. People are most contagious for the first 2 to 3 days of a cold. A cold is usually not contagious after the first week. Cold symptoms usually start about 2 or 3 days after you came in contact with the virus, although it could take up to a week. Symptoms mostly affect the nose.

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Dr. Heidi Fowler
1,392 Doctors shared insights

Common Cold (Definition)

An upper respiratory tract infection, or URI, is a condition where there is a viral infection of the nose or throat, causing redness and inflammation, runny ...Read more


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How long is the common cold contagious?

How long is the common cold contagious?

First 3 days.: During the first three days that you have cold symptoms, you are contagious.

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How long is the common cold contagious for? The same applies for the flu and other common infections?

How long is the common cold contagious for? The same applies for the flu and other common infections?

Variable: You are most contagious for a few days before you peak symptoms start for the flu you are also contagious for several days after you become smptomaic.

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Let's say I just caught a common cold. What can I expect, and for how long? When will I stop being contagious?

Let's say I just caught a common cold. What can I expect, and for how long? When will I stop being contagious?

Common cold: The common cold is caused by over 200 different viruses and is the commonest infection in the world. Symptoms vary: runny nose, congestion, cough, sore throat, headache and general malaise. The infection can come on 2-3 days after exposure (incubation period) and last anywhere from 4 to 14 days. You are infectious as long as you are shedding the virus secretions.

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How long is someone contagious for when they have the common cold, flu, or bacterial / viral bronchitis?

How long is someone contagious for when they have the common cold, flu, or bacterial / viral bronchitis?

Contagious periods: The contagious period differs for each type of infection, even among different viruses! There is a range of values based on different infections ranging from common cold to influenza. These vary from 24 hours to up to 2 weeks! You should ask your physician what infection you have and for how long you will be contagious. Common sense dictates that respiratory viruses travel by cough or sneeze.

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What period of time is someone who has a common cold contagious?

What period of time is someone who has a common cold contagious?

Hard to say: You are probably most contagious for the 48 hours before you show any symptoms. You will stay contagious as long as you have symptoms. You should be careful of what contact you have with others, particularly if they are very old or very young or have an immune problem (including those on chemotherapy).

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How contagious is the common cold after I start to feel better?

How contagious is the common cold after I start to feel better?

3 days: You're most contagious 1-2 days before you start feeling symptoms [germs are sneaky that way -- it's easy to pass them around when we don't even know that we're sick! ]. You're also contagious the first 3 days you have symptoms. Pass the chicken soup!

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Is it true that common cold is contagious the first 3 days only?

Viral illnesses: Yes. And no. One is most contagious from viral illnesses early on and contagiousness diminishes with time. But it is not as clean cut as your question implies.

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How long does a common cold congestion last?

How long does a common cold congestion last?

Wait: The zinc in coldeze may shorten the duration of a cold by a day or so. Symptomatic treatment will make you feel better. Throat lozenges for sore throat, oral pseudephedrine or topical neosynephrine for nasal congestion, Robitussin-DM for cough and tylenol (acetaminophen) for pain and discomfort when needed are what I recommend. There is no medical cure but wait 7 days and it will be gone.

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How long could common cold last?

How long could common cold last?

The common cold: According to the mayo clinic, colds usually last one to two weeks.

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How long does it take to cure a common cold?

How long does it take to cure a common cold?

7-14 days: While a common cold cannot be "cured", it will run its course within 7 to 14 days. Antibiotics are not helpful for the common cold but there are a few supplements that have been shown to increase your body's immune response to the virus, including zinc, vitamin c, and echinacea.

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How long does the common cold typically last?

How long does the common cold typically last?

7 -10 days: Most common colds resolve within 7 to 10 days. Colds that last longer may have become complicated with an ear infection (acute otitis media) or sinusitis.

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How long will the common cold usually last for?

How long will the common cold usually last for?

7-10 days: The gold standard answer is most viruses last 7-10 days however could be over in as little as 3 or long as 14 days.

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Approximately how long does a common cold last?

Approximately how long does a common cold last?

Colds arn't cured: The average common cold last 10 days measures such as increasing fluids getting appropriate rest blowing your nose sucking on candy using a humidifier can help make you more comfortable. If the symptoms really interfere with eating sleeping normal activity saline washes or otc decongestant sprays/tabs/or syrups can provide short term relief.

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Normally, how long would the common cold usually last for?

Less than 5-7 days: Most viral upper respiratory infection will resolve within 5-7 days. If symptoms persist beyond this length of time, or there is a worsening of symptoms after an initial improvement, it may have progressed into a bacterial infection. This is the usual pathway in the development of a sinus infection, as an example.

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How long does a common cold last and how to make it go away even faster?

It runs it's course.: According to the mayo clinic, colds usually last one to two weeks. Tips: sore throat – gargle with warm salt water (1/2 tsp salt in 8 oz of water). Get strep test/culture if very sore. Congestion – saline nose drops or netti pot. For anti-inflammatory effect & mobilizing mucus- homemade chicken noodle soup. Hydrate- lots of water/clear broth/ add honey & a small amt. Of lemon juice to chamomile >.

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How long should a common cold last? I've had mine for 3 days! Is this normal?

Yes: According to the mayo clinic, colds usually last one to two weeks.

Contagious (Definition)

One is able to transmit an infection to another by ...Read more