Man with fever in bed

It's important for everyone to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and understand its risk factors.

Being familiar with coronavirus symptoms and understanding how the coronavirus spreads allows you to better protect yourself and others.

Most people  will experience mild symptoms and can treat COVID at home

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, with or without respiratory symptoms, have been reported. These people may be contagious and spreading the disease even if they are only mildly sick.

Learn more about COVID symptoms from the CDC.

Questions to Consider

Many illnesses, like seasonal allergies, the common cold and seasonal flu, exhibit similar symptoms. To determine if the cause could be the coronavirus, you should also ask yourself the following questions:

Did you have close contact with a diagnosed COVID-19 patient? Close contact means that you spent time within 6 feet of the person or have come into direct contact with their saliva through coughing or sneezing.

Have you visited an area that has high community transmission of COVID 19? If you have traveled, consider if you visited a city, state or country with COVID-19 spread.

Are you at a higher risk for coronavirus? Based on the evidence we have so far, older adults and people with chronic diseases are most susceptible to serious complications from the virus.

Next Steps If You Have Coronavirus Symptoms

If you have developed these symptoms, here are a few next steps you can take based on your symptoms and health history.

If you are experiencing mild symptoms:

  • Do not leave your home. Do not go to the hospital or call 911 unless it is an emergency. Learn more about when to go to the hospital.
  • Call your healthcare provider for more information.
  • Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the nurse triage helpline.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency:

Call 911. Let the dispatcher know about your concerns, symptoms and travel history.

Hospitals are safe places to go for care. Do not ignore your body. Stay-at-home orders do not apply to people experiencing medical emergencies or those who need urgent medical care.

Reviewed 12/17/2021

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