Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary:

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at preventing severe COVID-19 illness and death. However, vaccines are not 100% effective and you may still become infected with or without symptoms.

Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:

You can infect others even if you don't have symptoms

You may be infected but not have symptoms. However, you can still spread the virus to others. You may:

Follow the advice of your local public health authority on quarantine or isolation if you:

Vaccination efforts continue to increase vaccine coverage and lower community transmission. Even with increased coverage, continue to follow the advice of your local public health authority on the use of individual public health measures.

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If you have severe symptoms

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you develop severe symptoms, such as:

Follow instructions for safe transport if taking an ambulance or a private vehicle to a hospital or clinic.

If you’re sick or caring for someone who’s sick

If you’re infected with COVID-19, even if not ill, follow the advice of your local public health authority for isolating at home. Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own.

Adults and children with mild COVID-19 symptoms can stay at home while recovering. You don’t need to go to the hospital.

If you’re caring for someone at home who has or may have COVID-19, you should follow the appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of illness.

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Getting tested

The only way to confirm you have COVID-19 is through a laboratory test.

Follow the testing directions provided by your local public health authority if you have:

People who are partially or fully vaccinated may still be asked to get a COVID-19 test.

If you’ve been tested and are waiting for the results, follow instructions:

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If you've tested positive

If you've tested positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home and away from others, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

If you develop symptoms during your isolation period:

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Consider downloading and using the COVID Alert app. It can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.

If the app notifies you about potential exposure, you should follow the guidance from your local public health authority.

You can help slow the spread of infection and prevent future outbreaks.

Treating COVID-19

If you’re concerned about your symptoms, consult your health care provider. They may recommend steps or medications you can take to relieve some of your symptoms, like fever and cough.

Follow the advice of your health care provider, who may prescribe treatments.

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Long-term symptoms

Some people who become infected with COVID-19 may experience long-term symptoms, even after they recover from their initial infection. This is sometimes called post COVID-19 condition or long COVID.

Studies are underway to further understand what causes post COVID-19 condition and how to diagnose and treat it.

If you think you have this condition, talk to your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms.

Learn more about post COVID-19 condition.

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