How to Prevent Cold Transfer Within a Sick Family


Family of four sick in bed with colds

Colds may be common, but that doesn’t make them any less unbearable or contagious. In fact, colds are very easily spread from person to person by simply touching the same objects and breathing the same air. This is a difficult situation when one family member is sick and the others are at risk of catching those germs.

But just because one person in a household has a cold doesn’t mean that everyone else has to suffer too. There are some easy precautionary measures that family members can take to reduce their risk of sickness. Here is some information about the contagious nature of colds and how to prevent cold transfer within a family.

How Long Does a Cold Stay Contagious?

This is a good question to ask because it can help families know when they are most at risk of catching cold germs. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to it. Most viruses that cause colds are contagious for between five and seven days. However, very severe colds can be contagious the day before symptoms appear and remain contagious for up to two weeks.

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How Long After a Cold Are You Contagious?

This is another common question among families with young kids. Once the symptoms of a cold subsides, it is a common misconception that the affected person is no longer contagious. People with colds are usually most contagious during the second and third days of their colds. And it’s generally safe to say that a cold isn’t very contagious any more after one week. But if any complications occurred during the cold or if someone has a particularly weak immune system, the sickness can still be spread.

Wash Hands More Often Than Usual to Prevent Cold Transfer

Children should be taught to wash their hands after using the bathroom, after sneezing, coughing, or blowing their noses, and before and after handling food. However, handwashing becomes even more important when someone in the house is sick to prevent cold transfer. Most infectious diseases are spread by touch, so washing the hands more often when a household sickness is present is an excellent first line of defense.

Disinfect Doorknobs & Remote Controls

Not only can germs live on the surface of skin, but also surfaces throughout the house for a few hours. Use a disinfecting spray or wipe to clean commonly used surfaces in the home, such as doorknobs, toys, remote controls, and tabletops to combat the spread of cold contagious germs.

Wash Sheets and Towels Regularly

Germs that cause the spread of colds can also linger on sheets and towels, so make a point to do laundry more often when someone in the house is sick. Wash these items in hot water with detergent to kill as many household germs as possible.

Avoid Sharing Cups and Utensils

Sharing food is a big part of family bonding, but make sure that everyone uses his or her own cups, plates, and utensils. There are many germs that live inside the mouth, so sharing bites of food is a surefire way for cold transfer within a household.

Treat the Specific Symptoms

Colds often go away on their own over time, but treatment can help speed up this process and reduce the length of time a cold is contagious. Some medications “over-treat” colds by providing remedies for symptoms that aren’t even there. But at PediaCare, we offer targeted treatments to tackle the specific symptoms that do exist, such as cough, congestion, or runny nose, without any unnecessary medicine. When parents promptly treat the symptoms of their children’s colds, they are more likely to go away faster and reduce the amount of high-risk cold contagious time for everyone else in the family.

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