How Long Is A Cold Contagious?

how long is a cold contagiousAre you wondering if the common cold is contagious? The answer is yes, it is. While a cold can last for 7-14 days, a person is usually the most contagious when they are the most sick, that being from day two to day four of their cold. Is a cold contagious only during those few days? Unfortunately the answer is no.

When is a cold contagious? A person who has contracted a cold virus can be contagious for two to three days before he shows any symptoms and for two to three days after his symptoms end. That means a person with a typical cold could potentially be contagious for two weeks.

How is a cold contagious? It is spread in two ways. One is by touching a surface that has cold germs on it and the other is by inhaling germs that are suspended in the air after a sneeze or cough.

If you have a cold, keep in mind, you are your most contagious during day two to four when you feel the worst, so try to minimize your contact with others during that time, especially young children, the ill, and the elderly. Also, cough into your elbow to keep germs off your hands, or use a napkin and throw it away immediately.

If others around you are sick and you are afraid they are contagious, be cautious of the things you touch. What they touch or cough or sneeze on could be infected. This includes their skin, doorknobs, toys, napkins, utensils, glasses, and countertops. Avoid putting your fingers in your mouth or around your face and wash your hands often.

While the common cold is contagious, and it seems to spread quickly among families, workplaces, and schools, you can take steps to protect yourself and reduce its transmission by practicing good hygiene.


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6 Responses to “How Long Is A Cold Contagious?”

  1. Jack Johnson says:

    How contagious is the common cold and how is transmitted?

  2. Alice says:

    The common cold is contagious from a few days to a couple weeks. Transmission can occur from direct contact by touching objects like a telephone that is contaminated with the virus or by inhaling coughed or sneezed droplets in the air. Kissing in and of itself is not a method of transmission, as saliva is not a common source of transmission for viruses.

  3. Christine Belle says:

    Can a cold sore be contagious during oral sex?

    The Cold Sore is inside my nose, which obviously wouldn’t be touching anything on my boyfriend, but would the cold sore make my saliva contagious, or if i put it in my mouth, will i infect my boyfriend?

    • Alice says:

      That being said, cold sores are herpes, and your nose, throat, and mouth are all connected. Fluids (snot) inside of your nose can run down your throat, which is right at the back of your mouth. And spit is all over your mouth, and moving around in your mouth when you perform oral. So, it’s kinda gross, but I would think it is entirely possible.

  4. Emily Dillingham says:

    Yikes! That means people who don’t appear sick at all might still be contagious. How effective is antibacterial soaps and surface sprays in stopping the spread of cold germs?

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