How Long Is A Cold Contagious (And Why)?

How Long Is A Cold Contagious (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2-3 Days

Most cold and flu viruses are spread from person to person through respiratory droplets that are released into the air when people cough, sneeze or talk. These drops can enter the mouth or nose and enter your lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza viruses can be transmitted by airborne droplets to others up to 6 feet away.

Healthy adults can infect others 1 day before symptoms appear and for 5–7 days after the first illness. Children can transmit the influenza virus for more than 7 days.

How Long Is A Cold Contagious

How Long Is A Cold Contagious?

Influenza is an infection caused by an influenza virus that infects the head and chest. People will develop symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and runny nose. The body will ache, people will be tired, and their temperature may rise above 100 ° F (37.8 ° C). People feel pain and fatigue first before respiratory symptoms develop. Because they kill bacteria,not viruses, antibiotics will notcure the flu.

Rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help to manage your symptoms. The doctor may prescribe an antiviral medicine such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu), peramivir (Rapivab), zanamivir (Relenza), or baloxavir (Xofluza) to relieve symptoms quickly.

For the drug to work, it is best to start the drug within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. People should consider taking antiviral drugs even after 48 hours if they have frequent contact with people at high risk, including young children, people over 65, pregnant women or less than two weeks after delivery, people with weakened immune, systems due to other illnesses

In addition, antiviral drugs can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Relenza is an inhaled medicine, so you should not use it if you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People are at high risk of complications from the flu because they are over 65, have a chronic illness, or are pregnant, and they should consult the doctor if they get the flu.

Also, call the doctor right away if a person has any more serious flu symptoms such as shortness of breath or dizziness. The common cold is caused by many different viruses. These viruses spread through the air like the flu.

Cold viruses in the nose, eyes, or mouth cause symptoms such as nasal congestion or runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, intermittent cough, people may also have a mild fever therefore they should take action to cure a cold. Drink water and other decaffeinated liquids and get as much rest as possible.

Cold effectsTime taken
Sneezing, nasal congestion2-3 days
Cough, flu3 days

Why Is A Cold Contagious So Long?

People can also take over-the-counter cold remedies. Some of these medicines have different symptoms (cold, cough, fever). Be careful not to treat symptoms that people don’t have. People may have side effects that they do not expect or want. Decongestant sprays relieve nasal congestion.

However, if people take a certain medicine for more than three days, it can lead to recurrent nasal congestion. Some of these drugs can also cause high blood pressure or heart palpitations. If a person has high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, or heart disease, consult your doctor before using a decongestant.

Antihistamines can also help clear the nose, but older ones, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can cause drowsiness. Colds are mild, but can sometimes lead to complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia also buy a decongestant spray.

Respiratory allergies, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes may not be contagious at all. If they occur at certain times of the year (for example, in the spring) and last for several weeks or months, people may be allergic. One way to distinguish allergy from contagious infection is that allergy does not cause symptoms such as fever and body aches.

Avoiding triggers is the best way to avoid allergy symptoms. To relieve allergy symptoms when they occur, Antihistamines block the action of histamine. The immune system releases this chemical when an allergic reaction occurs. Some antihistamines can be fatiguing.


They can also cause other side effects such as constipation and dry mouth. Decongestants constrict the blood vessels in the nose, reducing swelling and decreasing function. These drugs can make you feel anxious, interfere with sleep at night, and raise blood pressure or heart rate. Nasal steroids control inflammation and associated swelling in the nose. Some steroid solutions can cause dry noses or nosebleeds.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. I appreciate the section on allergies and distinguishing them from infections. It helps to know when to seek specific types of care.

  2. The post provides clear explanations about how colds and flu are spread and symptoms to watch for. The inclusion of potential treatments is really helpful too.

    1. Absolutely, this article is a great resource for anyone seeking knowledge about these illnesses. It’s valuable to have this kind of information readily available.

  3. This article is very informative and helpful. It’s a great resource for understanding the contagious nature of colds and flu and how to manage symptoms. Thank you!

    1. I agree, it’s so important to have accurate information about contagious illnesses like colds and flu. We need to understand how to keep ourselves and others safe.

    2. I appreciate the detail about antiviral medicines and their side effects. Understanding the potential outcomes of treatment helps make informed decisions.

  4. The section on allergies and determining contagious infections is really helpful. It’s valuable to understand the differences between the two to get proper care.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Knowing how to differentiate symptoms is crucial for effective management of health issues.

  5. This post provides valuable insights into the management and care of colds and flu. It’s a great reference for understanding these illnesses.

  6. This article is a well-written and comprehensive source of information about cold and flu contagion and treatment. Well done.

  7. This is a fascinating read, but the side effects of some medications are concerning. It’s important to weigh the benefits against potential drawbacks.

    1. Definitely! All aspects of any treatment should be considered before using, it’s a vital part of informed medical decision-making.

    2. Absolutely, understanding the full range of possible effects from medication is important for informed health choices.

  8. This article is a fantastic resource for understanding the spread and treatment of colds and flu. Well worth a read!

  9. The potential side effects of certain medications are quite concerning. They require careful consideration when choosing treatment options.

  10. The warnings about decongestants and potential side effects are really important. It’s crucial to understand what we’re putting in our bodies.

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