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Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in adults

Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) in adults 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
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick

The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu.

What to do if you have symptoms

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and either:

  • you have a high temperature
  • you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities

Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.

Find out more about what to do if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19

Information:

There's more advice:

Who needs to do a COVID-19 test

Free testing for COVID-19 from the NHS has ended for most people in England.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you are no longer required to do a rapid lateral flow or PCR test.

If you still want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself.

You can buy a COVID-19 test from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

Find out more about who can get a free NHS COVID-19 test

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: 22 June 2022
Next review due: 28 October 2022