A cold is an upper respiratory infection characterized by a combination of coughing, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, headache
, and/or sore throat
. It is caused by one of a multitude of viruses and is very contagious. The period of contagiousness actually starts a day or two before you even feel sick. The most contagious period is when the virus first enters into your body and starts to make copies of itself. This is because your immune system has not yet had time to fight back. This period of maximum contagiousness lasts about 3 to 4 days and is when you are suffering the most. After this time your immune system starts to fight back and the viral level slowly drops and you become less and less contagious. However, you are still able to transmit the virus (meaning you are still contagious) until all of your symptoms are gone.
In the meantime while your partner is recovering it is important to do everything you can to prevent getting sick yourself. One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent illness
is to wash your hands frequently. It is also important to drink plenty of fluids, get a lot of rest and don't smoke.