Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cold Contagion Period Lasts for a Few Days

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cold Contagion Period Lasts for a Few Days

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: I don't want to spread my cold. What I'd like to know, Doctor, is how long I am contagious. Usually, I don't feel too bad in spite of the runny nose and such. It's an annual event.

You are most infectious for three or four days with a cold, the day before symptoms occur and the two to three days thereafter.

You can't do much about the time when you are innocently unaware of an infectious state. Short of total isolation, you can do something about the following two or three days.

Cold germs pass innocently to others via hand-to-hand contact - from the hands of the person infected to those of others, who get the cold by transferring the virus to the nose or eyes. Sneeze droplets provide another handy medium of virus spread.

You can minimize the threat by using napkins frequently and by washing your hands from time to time during the day.

The same clues work in avoiding cold viruses. Hand washing provides the single most effective method of prevention. Get the germs off your hand, and they won't get to the eyes or nose, the chief portals of entry. You might be surprised how often you touch your eyes or nose in a 24-hour period.

*****

Dear Dr. Donohue: My company sponsors flu shots for us every year. I am in my late 20s. I had assumed the shots were only for older people. Do you agree with this program? Should younger people get the shot?

Yes, get the shot. Flu and flu protection know no age barrier.

Now, you might have heard someone say that flu shots can be lifesavers for older people or for those with chronic lung disease such as emphysema. And that's true. But there's no need to bar shots for young people in good health.

Your company is on the cutting edge in making flu shots available to employees. Such programs reduce sick days by 43 percent. Everybody wins. …

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