When Is the Common Cold Most Contagious?


Quick Answer

The common cold is most contagious during the first two to four days after symptoms appear, states About.com. Common cold symptoms include a runny nose, congestion, sore throat, cough and sneezing, notes MedlinePlus. The common cold virus spreads through the air and on surfaces.

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Full Answer

Although colds are contagious for only a few days after infection, the virus can live in the body for up to three weeks, explains About.com. Medical attention is usually not required for a cold, but if it comes with a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, sinus pain, sweating and chills, or swollen glands, medical attention is recommended, notes Mayo Clinic.

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