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    Includes Expert Content
    How long is a cold contagious?
    An_187519 posted:
    I've had a cold for a week now--from first scratchy throat/cough--am I still contagious? Should I stay away from people?
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
    As a rule, colds are contagious a day before you know you are sick, and for about two days after. At one week, if you are feeling progressively better, and unless you have a secondary infection, your cold should not be contagious.

    You can start hanging out with people again...
    momofpjc replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    thank you!
    cherrybeybee replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
    Hi Dr. Moser, you said, "At one week, if you are feeling progressively better, and unless you have a secondary infection, your cold should not be contagious."...

    But what if you're not progressively better in a week but @ the same time you're not getting worst? I know some people that suffer from cold for weeks. Could they be contagious?
    Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to cherrybeybee's response:
    The persistence of symptoms (runny nose, or cough) does not necessarily imply that the person is actively contagious and capable of spreading the original virus.

    A person can get more than one type of the same time, or back-to-back....making a cold seem to last longer, and of course, colds can lead to secondary bacterial infections which may or may not be considered contagious (depending on what and where they are). Since we have no way of really identifying when one cold starts (contagious then) and when a second virus jumps on the bandwagon (probably contagious for this second virus), it can be a mystery.
    A nose-blowing co-worker is always....always going to be blamed for getting another co-worker getting sick, even though it would not hold up in the Court of Medicine, if there were such a thing. People are germy. We live in a world of people and germs. Sometimes we are going to get sick. Period.

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