Common Cold (illness) and contagiousness.

If contagiousness is a word.

I’ve got the bug. Got it good Thursday morning 3/17/2011. The whole shebang - acute viral rhinopharyngitis.

I took Thursday and Friday off work. Felt quite bad yesterday. Today I seem to be on the downhill side at least (sore throat is gone, cough is minimal).

The question -

I have heard that the first few days of a cold are when you are most contagious, and pose the greatest risk to infecting others. Is this true? I understand the basics of not coughing and sneezing around others covering my face when I do, sanitizing my hands and so on. Just wondering if you are still drippy, and suffering from the cold, if it makes any difference how long you have had it re risk to others.

I suspect that when the immune system has kicked in causing all the sneezing and coughing and runny nose, once the cold is a bit kicked and you are coming out of it, you are not as contagious but may still have symptoms caused by the immune system. Is that it? Or is a wives’ tale and I’m as contagious as when I first picked it up?

Coincidentally, I just researched this online the other day. Don’t have a cite, but I read on one site that after 5 days, you really aren’t contagious any longer. As I understand it, it’s five days starts with the incubation period, before you have symptoms, so say after the first couple of days of the cold. However, I have to say, I don’t trust this. It just seems counter-intuitive. I’d treat all sneezes and issuances as if they were teeming with virus. It couldn’t hurt anything.