Symptoms of COVID-19
COVID-19 symptoms can include:
- a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature 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
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- a headache
- a sore throat
- a blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.
Most people feel better within a few days or weeks of their first COVID-19 symptoms and make a full recovery within 12 weeks. For some people, it can be a more serious illness and their symptoms can last longer.
What to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19
You may be able to look after yourself at home if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19.
Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you or your child have symptoms and either:
- have a high temperature
- do not feel well enough to go to work, school, childcare, or do your normal activities
You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.
If your child has mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat or mild cough, and they feel well enough, they can go to school or childcare.
If you are eligible for treatments for COVID-19, you should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test as soon as you get symptoms.
Find out more about treatments for COVID-19 and who can have them
What to do if you have tested positive
You are no longer required to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test if you have symptoms.
But if you or your child have tested positive for COVID-19:
- try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for a further 3 days after your positive test if you are under 18 years
- try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for a further 5 days after your positive test if you are 18 or over
- avoid meeting people who are more likely to get seriously ill from viruses, such as people with a weakened immune system, for a further 10 days after your positive test
Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if:
- you're worried about your or a child's COVID-19 symptoms or are not sure what to do
- the symptoms are getting worse or are not getting better
- you or a child have other signs of illness, such as a rash, loss of appetite, or feeling weak
- you or a child have a high temperature that last 5 days or more or does not come down with paracetamol
- a child under 3 months old and has a temperature of 38C or higher, or you think they have a high temperature
- a child 3 to 6 months old and has a temperature of 39C or higher, or you think they have a high temperature
It's particularly important to get help if you're at increased risk of getting ill from COVID-19, such as if you're pregnant, aged 60 or over, or have a weakened immune system.
You can call 111 or get help from 111 online.
Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if you or a child:
- seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong – children and babies in particular can get unwell very quickly
- get sudden chest pain
- are so breathless you're unable to say short sentences when resting or your breathing has suddenly got worse – in babies their stomach may suck in under their ribs
- start coughing up blood
- collapse, faint, or have a seizure or fit for the first time
- a rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis