How long have you been contagious?

How long have you been contagious?

Prolonged incubation for influenza infection

Colds can be caused by a variety of different types of viruses. Rhinoviruses and adenoviruses are primarily responsible for the common cold in autumn and winter. Infections with these viruses have relatively long incubation periods. Sometimes until the virus enters the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, it may take several days until the cold passes. The incubation period for colds is usually about two to four days in autumn and winter. However, a long incubation period of five to seven days is not uncommon.

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How long it takes for the flu to spread, or whether it breaks out at all, depends on the formation of our immune system and other factors such as age, lifestyle and immediate environment. If the cold virus takes hold and can multiply without stopping, the classic symptoms become noticeable:

  • sore throat
  • sore throat
  • sniff
  • congested, swollen nasal mucosa
  • weakness
  • dizzy
  • increase in body temperature
  • cough
  • hoarseness

Infectious period: how long have you been infected with a cold

contagious even without symptoms

For a long time it was believed that colds were only contagious when symptoms became noticeable. However, it is now known that influenza infection is already contagious when there are no symptoms. Even people who do not yet know or realize that they have contracted the common cold virus are already contagious. Therefore the incubation period is already considered as the infectious period. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you are probably still contagious and you should take extra care in contact with people around you to avoid spreading the infection.

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Most contagious with the first symptoms

You are most contagious as soon as the first typical symptoms of the common cold appear. The virus suddenly multiplies in the body in the first two to three days after the onset of symptoms. Now symptoms like coughing, sneezing and heavy discharge from the nose have started appearing. These are the best means of spreading viruses, which stick to aerosols and spread through sneezing, coughing or contact infection. So if you have a runny nose and itchy throat, you need to avoid contact, wash your hands regularly and keep your distance, as this is when you are most contagious.

infectious for about a week

Once the most severe symptoms subside after a few days, the viral load in your body will also decrease. Now your immune system has taken over and is effectively fighting the multiplication of the viral invaders. Now you are starting to feel better and better. This inspires many people to take an active part in public life again. But be careful and continue to protect your fellow humans, because you are still contagious. Depending on your condition and your immune system, you may still be contagious up to a week later. If possible, stay at home or work from your home office. Pay special attention to regularly sanitize and ventilate rooms to reduce the viral load in the air.

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