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Main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with symptoms have at least 1 of these.

Information:

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others. This is why everyone is advised to get tested regularly.

Find out about regular rapid COVID-19 tests if you do not have symptoms

What to do if you have symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19:

  1. Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
  2. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is where someone who lives alone (or just with their children) can meet people from 1 other household.

Find out more about making a support bubble with another household on GOV.UK.

Urgent advice: Get help from NHS 111 if:

  • you're worried about your symptoms
  • you're not sure what to do

Call 111 if you cannot get help online.

Do not go to places like a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy.

Important: Babies and children

Call 111 if you're worried about a baby or child under 5.

If your child seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call 999.

Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.

Get more advice about COVID-19 in children

Page last reviewed: 29 April 2021
Next review due: 13 May 2021