Colds: How long infectious?

Generally speaking, when does a person with a cold become non-infectious?

For example. Let’s assume a seven-day illness. The first day, the person starts to display symptoms. The third day symptoms reach their peak. Symptoms decline for the next few days. When is it safe to be around other people? X days after symptoms start to decline? The day symptoms disappear? X days after symptoms disappear?

Full disclosure: Yes, I have a cold. But this is a general question about colds, and not specific to me. Just something I’ve always wondered.

When you aren’t sneezing or coughing it around (without meds), you’re no longer contagious.

Basically you are contagious for as long as you have a runny nose. When that stops it’s an indication that the virus is no longer present and the sneezing stops. Coughing is usually a secondary symptom - from snot running down into the throat from the nasal passages.

Although I might not agree entirely with him, here’s what Cecil says.

Thanks for that.

If anyone is curious, but does not want to read the column:

And yes, I’ve been telecommuting since the onset of symptoms. :wink: