How Long Is the Common Cold Contagious?

Among other questions that people have about the common cold. Many wonder how long is the common cold contagious and what to take to stop a common cold. The answer to “how long is a common cold contagious” is fairly simple. As long as the virus is present in nasal discharges, the cold is contagious.

Scientists believe that there is more live virus present in nasal secretions between the second and fourth days of infection, so you could say that a person is more contagious during this time period. Symptoms usually begin around the second day, but this can vary. Some people never have symptoms, even though an infection is present. Some people do not develop symptoms until the fifth day after infection. No one can explain this variation and it is one of the things that make it difficult to find what to take to stop a common cold. Some people have symptoms for only a couple of days; others for a couple of weeks. Experts advise that if symptoms are present for longer than two weeks, there may be another cause, such as allergy or a bacterial infection.

If you are interested in what to take to stop a common cold, you will find that there are hundreds of products on the market. Most of these relieve either nasal congestion or drainage. Many cause drowsiness. If you are interested in natural products that have been shown in scientific studies to reduce the duration of common cold symptoms and even prevent common cold frequency, then read on.

If you take a good daily multi-vitamin, then you probably are getting enough vitamin C, E and zinc, but when you have a cold, you may need more. Studies have shown that all of these effectively enhance immune system performance, possible preventing viral infections. Other studies have shown that each of these can reduce duration of cold symptoms in some people. It is difficult to evaluate results from common cold trials, because, as previously mentioned, some people recover in a short time, without treatment.

Ginseng, green tea, echinacea, andrographis paniculata and olive leaf are among the plant products that can be included in a list of what to take to stop a common cold. Ginseng and green tea increase energy and metabolism, enhancing the body’s ability to absorb necessary vitamins. Studies have shown that the presence of vitamin C in the blood stream is dramatically reduced during a viral infection. It stands to reason that other vitamins are depleted more quickly, as well. Though the source of the old saying “feed a cold” is unknown, it may be that people realized that in order to recover more quickly from a cold, they needed more food. Today, we can simply increase our vitamin intake. For more information about natural products like the ones mentioned here, visit the Immune System Booster Guide.

Those who are interested in how long is the common cold contagious may be curious about how long the virus lives outside of the human body. Over 200 different viruses can cause common cold symptoms. Scientists know most about the rhinovirus, which can live for up to three hours on the skin and surfaces.


  1. When I am looking for answers, I would prefer not to be subjected to "before and after" photos of someone's fat midsection.

  2. The article never answers the question – "How LONG is the common cold contagious?".

  3. Article is well written, easy to read and understand. While focusing on facts the article includes research from many sources offering suggestions that are of interest even though, as stated, they may not be scientifically verified.

  4. It appears Susan didn't make it past the third sentence. Great info, though lacking citation.

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