Infections: that’s how long you’ve been contagious – look around pharmacies

Sometimes you don’t even know you have an infection, but you are contagious. Or you feel healthy again, but you can still infect other people. How to protect yourself

More common in Asia: Protect other people from infections with a face mask

A pathogen is often already spreading in the body and you don’t notice any of it (incubation period). For example, ringing rubella has long been contagious, although not yet rash you can see.

Sometimes you feel much better after an illness, but you still carry the viruses – and can transmit them to other people. So how can the risk of infection be minimized? Dr. Anja Meurer, specialist for infectious diseases, explains:

Avoid infections

Many an infection can be avoided if basic hygiene rules are observed again, says Meurer.

The doctor advises, after this Always come home, wash your hands before going to the toilet, blowing your nose, and before cooking. Clean surfaces and objects that are touched by many people regularly.

If you are already ill, you should ventilate regularly in your lounge to reduce the germ load, and only sneeze in your sleeves and not in your hands. Germs cannot multiply in substances.

For virus infections, expert Meurer advises that an additional disinfectant be used that kills viruses.

Flu infection (cold)

Runny nose viruses attack the airways and, in addition to a runny nose, also cause cough and sore throat. The symptoms appear at the latest five days after the infection and usually do not last longer than a week. During this time, the patients are contagious. They transmit the virus through droplets that are distributed when coughing or sneezing.

Why are we cold especially in winter? The cold favored that viruses multiply because the mucous membranes were poorly supplied with blood and became drier, says Meurer. In addition, you spend more time with others in closed rooms, pass on pathogens easily.

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Real flu

Flu viruses multiply in the nasopharynx secretion and spread through the air through sneezing, coughing or speaking. If another person inhales the virus or gets it on his hand and from there to the mouth or eye, the pathogens can also penetrate his body through the mucous membranes.

The disease breaks out a day or two after infection. Sufferers suddenly feel weak, often suffer from fever, sore throat and dry cough, muscle, limb and headache. They are contagious at least as long as they have symptoms.


They are the most common cause of gastrointestinal infections – in children and when traveling. The viruses spread mainly between February and April. It takes one to three days after the infection for the disease to break out. Sufferers suffer from sudden onset watery diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain, in addition there is a slight fever as well as cough and runny nose.

Rotaviruses are highly contagious. Even the smallest traces of stool remains are enough to infect others. Sick people pass on the pathogens with their hands. Then they pass through the mouth into the digestive tract of the next person. Rotaviruses can also be transmitted through contaminated toilets or fittings. Although the symptoms subside after a few days, the pathogens are excreted in the stool for up to eight days.


Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting for twelve to 48 hours: Virus infections are usually short but violent. They occur frequently from December to March. The patients excreted the pathogens en masse with stool and vomit; About ten particles are enough for an infection.

There is a high risk of infection as soon as the symptoms appear. Even if they are better off, patients often still excrete the viruses – usually seven to 14 days.

Scarlet fever

The bacterial infection is caused by A streptococci. It is considered a classic childhood disease, but it can also affect adults. The pathogens usually sit in the throat and reach other people via droplets of saliva. Typically, scarlet fever breaks out one to three days after being infected.

The disease manifests itself as headache and sore throat, chills and rapidly rising fever. After a day or two there is a non-itchy rash and the typical pink so-called raspberry tongue. Scarlet fever is treated with an antibiotic, is the Those affected are no longer contagious after just 24 hours.


The so-called eye flu becomes noticeable five to twelve days after the infection. Usually both eyes turn red, itch, the lids swell. Patients are afraid of light and often feel as if they have a foreign body in their eyes. If the inflammation is caused by bacteria, a purulent yellow mucus also arises. He glues the lids in the morning.

Those affected have to struggle with the symptoms for up to four weeks, during which time they are highly contagious. You should pay attention to strict hygiene and avoid contact between hands and eyes. Above all, they should never share eye drops, towels or washcloths with others.

Also read:

Cold: Why do we keep getting sick?

Every winter a new wave of colds and coughs comes towards us. How we get infected, how we can prevent it


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Christina Cherry
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