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How Lengthy Are You Contagious When You Have COVID?

No one desires to provide COVID-19 to a beloved one (or anybody). However figuring out simply how lengthy you are contagious is not a precise science, as it will possibly range from individual to individual.

So you’ll have a tough time determining whether or not you are placing others in danger. Nevertheless, there are guidelines you’ll be able to comply with and issues you’ll be able to know to assist defend these round you — and to ease different considerations about your an infection, too.

Right here, consultants share pointers for the way lengthy you would possibly be capable of unfold COVID-19 and if you’re most contagious, together with with the viral pressure that’s at present dominant.

Most individuals are contagious for about 10 days.

It isn’t all the time clear how lengthy an individual is contagious as a result of, like a number of issues with COVID-19, the precise timeline depends upon many components, stated Dr. Stuart Ray, a professor of medication and infectious ailments on the Johns Hopkins College College of Medication in Baltimore.

However, Ray stated, the traditional knowledge is that you’re contagious and should isolate for 5 full days after your signs start—along with your first day of signs counting as day zero.

However remember the fact that you are not within the clear after 5 days.

“It is usually stated then that it is best to put on a masks after that to attempt to defend others as a result of it is arduous to make certain how lengthy you are infectious,” Ray stated.

“That interval usually lasts as much as 10 days,” he added — and as soon as once more, your first day of signs counts as day zero.

Lengthy story brief, you might be doubtless contagious for about 10 days after signs start. You must isolate for the primary 5 days and put on a masks on at the least six days by means of 10.

However you are most infectious at sure factors.

The section if you’re most contagious begins about 48 hours earlier than you check constructive and ends 5 days after your signs start, based on Dr. Neha Vyas, a household drugs physician at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. She known as this the “interval of maximal contagiousness.”

So, you will wish to be further cautious at this stage — although it is arduous to know when you’re sick earlier than you could have signs, which makes these first 48 hours actually difficult.

In the meantime, the period of time between an infection and signs has gotten shorter and shorter as COVID-19 mutates, which implies omicron subvariants like XBB — at present the dominant pressure within the US — can unfold sooner.

If you happen to’re uncovered to somebody who assessments constructive for COVID-19, you’ll be able to check your self even earlier than you could have signs. Or, when you just lately attended a crowded indoor occasion, you’ll be able to take a check a couple of days later. Past that, there is not actually a solution to know you are contaminated earlier than you begin exhibiting signs.

And within the later interval of your sickness, bear in mind which you can nonetheless unfold COVID-19, which is why it is necessary to put on a masks till at the least the 10-day mark.

When you have signs after 10 days, you can nonetheless unfold the virus.

Anybody whose signs persist previous day 10 and who continues to check constructive can doubtless go the virus to others. If that is you, preserve sporting a masks and avoiding indoor areas and occasions, Ray stated.

“YOf you might be immunocompromised otherwise you had a extremely [severe] COVID an infection … then you can be contagious nonetheless for 20 days” after signs start, added Go.

Lengthy durations of contagiousness like this are uncommon, she harassed. However when you fall into both of these two classes, speak to your physician for additional steerage.

If attainable, it is best to isolate from others in your house for 5 days. After that, mask-wearing is necessary.

At-home antigen assessments are a great way to inform when you’re nonetheless contagious.

It isn’t unusual for somebody to check constructive on a lab check for weeks after a COVID-19 an infection, “however it might be very uncommon for somebody to check constructive for weeks on an antigen check,” Ray stated.

Antigen assessments are the sort that you’ll have picked up from the pharmacy (from manufacturers like iHealth) or acquired from the federal government (which continues to be sending out free assessments, by the best way).

Ray added {that a} constructive antigen check is correlated with a virus’s capability to develop and infect. So in case you have a constructive antigen check, you might be doubtless contagious.

And that works the opposite means round, too.

“We typically say in case your signs are utterly resolved and you’ve got a detrimental check, you are unlikely to be infectious,” Ray stated.

If you wish to be further cautious, you’ll be able to take two COVID assessments.

If you happen to’re previous the 10-day mark and now not symptomatic, however you feel anxious about doubtlessly spreading the virus to a beloved one, there are issues you are able to do.

“You possibly can take two COVID assessments 48 hours aside,” Vyas stated. “In the event that they’re each detrimental, you’ll be able to [be] pretty sure that you just’re not contagious anymore.”

She added that most individuals will not want to do that so long as they comply with the 10-day steerage. However when you’re nervous about passing on the virus, it is a good tactic.

If you happen to stay in a house with others, it is best to do what you’ll be able to to guard them.

“If attainable, a contagious particular person ought to use a separate bed room and toilet, particularly throughout this five-day interval [after symptoms begin],” stated Dr. Ali Khan, the chief medical officer at Oak Road Well being.

When that is not attainable, put on a well-fitting masks — ideally an N95 or KN95 — round different individuals in your house.

Khan added that an contaminated particular person ought to have their very own tableware and sheets, and that they need to keep away from high-touch gadgets.

“Do not forget to clean your fingers regularly,” Khan stated — and this goes for people who find themselves not contaminated, too.

Lastly, to guard each your self and your family members, ensure you’re updated in your COVID-19 boosters.

“It is undoubtedly not too late to get COVID-19 and flu photographs, as they’ll nonetheless curb extreme signs, even when you do contract sickness,” Khan stated.

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