A virus is a small, infectious organism that can cause a viral infection.
Different viruses can be passed between people in different ways.
A number of viruses can be breathed into your body through your nose or mouth when an infectious person coughs or sneezes. You may get some viruses by touching an infectious person. And some viruses can get into your body through sexual contact with an infectious person.
With most viral infections you are infectious for several days before you begin to feel sick or notice a rash. There is no set rule that says for how much longer you will be infectious. Each viral infection is different. If you are not sure how long you will be infectious or how you might pass on your viral infection you should ask your doctor.
Infectious periods for common viral infections are:
Chickenpox: from about 2 days before and 5 days after your rash appears.
Common cold: from about 1 day before and 1-3 days after your symptoms appear.
Flu (influenza): from about 1 day before and 5 days after your symptoms appear. Children and people with lowered
immune systems may remain infectious longer.
Genital herpes: from when your rash first appears until the last blister has burst, scabbed and dried.
Glandular fever: you are infectious during the incubation period (the time between being exposed to the virus and getting symptoms) and up to 2 months after the infection has passed. The incubation period is 33-49 days.
Measles: from 2-4 days before and about 5 days after your rash appears.
Mumps: from about 1 week before and several days after your symptoms appear.
Rubella (German measles): from about 1 week before and 4-5 days after your rash appears.
Shingles: from when your rash first appears until the last blister has scabbed over.
NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice,
diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your
physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere.
If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.