COVID patients exhale high levels of virus the first eight days
Two doctors have revealed when you’re most contagious after contracting Covid.
With new variants circulating around the country and the festive season around the corner, you might want to know when you’re most likely to catch the virus from somebody else.
While it’s not fully clear when you start being contagious after being exposed to coronavirus, research suggests when you’re most likely to shed the virus.
According to Vincent Covelli, M.D., a board-certified infectious disease physician at telemedicine platform PlushCare, you’re most contagious during the first five days of symptoms.
You tend to shed most when your viral load is the highest, with research suggesting this occurs on day four after your symptoms have started.
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A study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that viral loads of the Omicron variant peaked on the fourth day after first signs appeared.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggests that people with Covid who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms should isolate for at least five days after their symptoms begin.
However, those with moderate to severe symptoms should isolate for at least 10 days.
Usually, most healthy people are no longer contagious after the 10-day period.
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Thomas Russo, M.D., recommended taking a test so you can definitely rule out you’ve overcome the infection.
He told Men’s Health: “It’s recommended that a second rapid at-home Covid test be performed to document negativity.
“It’s at this point that a person is likely no longer contagious to others.”
While most people should be fine within 10 days, those who are immunocompromised may shed the virus for longer time periods, making them contagious for longer, Dr Russo explained.
The CDC suggests that people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised need to isolate for 20 days.
Therefore, your contagion depends on when your symptoms start as well as your underlying health.
The CDC offers an online Isolation and Exposure Calculator that could help you determine when you need to isolate.
Furthermore, Dr Russo explained that the Covid vaccines could possibly make you contagious for a shorter period of time, but there’s currently no clinical data on the subject.
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