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How Long Are You Contagious With COVID-19?

If you test positive for COVID-19, the duration of contagiousness can vary. This is because the virus can be shed (meaning released from the body through talking, exhaling, etc.) for anywhere from days to months depending on your age, vaccination status, immune status, severity of infection, and any preexisting conditions you may have.

Even so, the likelihood of transmission decreases as fewer viruses are shed over time. If you become infected with COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you isolate at home until you’ve been fever-free for 24 hours (without the held of medications). It’s also recommended that you take additional precautions for five days following isolation.2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Respiratory virus guidance.

This article explains how long COVID-19 is contagious and the variables that can increase or decrease the duration. It also offers tips on how to protect others if you or someone know gets COVID-19.

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