Flu, Cold, Covid: Am I Still Contagious?


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Viruses tend to spread more easily in colder weather due to less humidity. There are a billion cases of the flu every year. According to the American Lung Association, adults get two to four colds a year. And right now, there are over 700 million COVID-19 cases around the world. A lot of people are concerned about how contagious they are once they feel better. When can they get back to their regular schedules?

With flu and cold season underway and the persistent threat of COVID-19, many people recovering from these illnesses worry about how long they can infect their family and friends. Health experts advise that the duration of contagiousness varies depending on the specific illness.

For the flu and common cold, individuals are generally contagious for the first few days of illness. However, it’s essential to note that some symptoms, like a lingering cough, may persist even after the person is no longer contagious.

Dixie Harris, MD, Pulmonary Critical Care Physician at Intermountain Health says, “Some people have the chronic fatigue, sometimes, persistent fevers, other people have more chest issues.”

For COVID-19, people are typically contagious for a period before symptoms appear and up to five days after the onset of symptoms. However, this can vary, and it’s crucial to adhere to the guidelines provided by health authorities for quarantine and isolation.

Doctor Harris says, “They think they’re getting better, and then, they try to do something, and then they have to sit for six hours, or two days. So, it’s just one of these situations where they have to really pace their activities.”

Helping you to stay safe during these seasons.

Also, for strep throat, doctors say you are no longer contagious after 24 hours of antibiotics. For the stomach flu, you are no longer contagious two days after the symptoms pass. And for whooping cough, you are no longer contagious after five days of antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be rolling out a new symptom-based approach to isolation this spring when it comes to COVID-19. It would allow people with mild and improving symptoms to leave home once they are fever-free for 24 hours with no medications. It would align closer to guidelines set for the flu. Though the virus has not become less contagious, this new protocol may allow people who have been unable or unwilling to stay at home for five days a shorter isolation period enabling them to take at least some precautions when sick.

Contributors to this news report include: Adahlia Thomas, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.








REPORT #3157

BACKGROUND: Infectious diseases like the flu, the common cold, and COVID-19 share the common trait of being highly contagious, albeit with varying degrees of severity and transmission dynamics. The contagious period for the flu usually begins one day before symptoms develop and can last up to a week after becoming sick. This makes it relatively easy for the virus to circulate within communities, especially during flu season. COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or breathes. These droplets can be inhaled into the lungs of nearby individuals, leading to infection. While all three diseases share similar modes of transmission, COVID-19 has proven to be more contagious and, in some cases, more severe, leading to widespread disruptions and health crises worldwide. The CDC estimates that the flu has resulted in 41 million illnesses.

(Source: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

THE STUDY: Individuals diagnosed with the flu, cold, or COVID-19 are commonly contagious for the first few days upon infection. However small symptoms can linger for days after. For COVID-19 illnesses, people are commonly contagious before symptoms arise and for even up to five days after symptoms vanish. Unlike the flu or the common cold, COVID-19 has a longer incubation period, during which an infected person may not show symptoms but can still spread the virus. This aspect has contributed significantly to its rapid spread globally. “Some people have chronic fatigue, sometimes, persistent fevers, other people have more chest issues,” said Dixie Harris, MD, a pulmonary critical care physician with Intermountain Healthcare. Experts also recommend if you are taking antibiotics, to wait five days before seeing other people in order to avoid spreading the infection.

(Source: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/10/06/well/live/contagious-cold-flu-virus-illness.html


NEW REGULATIONS: Boston University infectious disease expert David Hamer says with COVID-19 and the flu surging once again, getting vaccinated and masking up are once again crucial to ensuring safety from a health perspective. With new Omicron offshoots forming, the largest spike since the Omicron variant in 2021 has spread. Along with this, the flu is being transmitted more frequently as well. Hamer stresses that in crowded places where ventilation is inadequate, it is crucial to once again wear a mask and maintain safe distances from those around you showing symptoms. “Any respiratory symptoms should trigger testing, because SARS-CoV-2 is so easily transmissible. You don’t want your coworkers, your family members, to become sick, so it’s important to know,” said Hamer.

(Source: https://www.bu.edu/articles/2024/what-to-do-when-covid-and-flu-cases-surge/

* For More Information, Contact:

Erin Goff


Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk