Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment

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COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. They may also vary in different age groups.

Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:

Children tend to have abdominal symptoms and skin changes or rashes.

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

You can infect others even if you aren’t showing symptoms

The virus can be spread to others from someone who’s infected but not showing symptoms. This includes people who:

This kind of spread is known to happen among those who are in close contact or are in enclosed or crowded settings.

Think you may have been exposed to COVID-19? Follow the advice on how to quarantine at home when you may have been exposed but have no symptoms.

If you're travelling with or without symptoms, be aware of what’s expected of you when entering Canada.

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

If you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, contact your local public health authority and isolate yourself at home for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others. Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own.

Adults and children who have mild COVID-19 symptoms are able to stay at home with a caregiver throughout their recovery without needing hospitalization. If you’re a caregiver, follow the advice on how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home.

Getting tested

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

Take a self-assessment to find out if you should be tested.

If you’ve tested positive

If you've received a positive test result for COVID-19, you must isolate at home, whether you have symptoms or not. Remain isolated for up to 14 days or as directed by your local public health authority.

If you didn’t have symptoms when you got tested but develop them during your isolation period, you must restart your isolation time as directed by the local public health authority.

Treating COVID-19

If you’re concerned about your symptoms, self-monitor for any changes and consult your health care provider. They may recommend steps you can take to relieve your symptoms.

People who are hospitalized with COVID-19 and need breathing assistance may be treated with dexamethasone.

Remdesivir (brand name Veklury) is currently the only drug authorized with conditions to treat COVID-19 in those who are hospitalized with severe symptoms. The drug can be used with adults and youth (aged 12 years and older).

Certain medications can also help to ease symptoms like fever and cough.

Learn more about vaccines and treatments being developed for COVID-19.

Vaccination for COVID-19

There isn’t yet a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but research and development are underway. The Government of Canada is closely tracking all potential drugs and vaccines in development in Canada and abroad. To help speed up the development and availability of treatments as well as vaccines to prevent COVID-19, Canada is working with:

Flu vaccine

Getting your annual flu shot is an important way to help protect yourself, your family and vulnerable people in your community against seasonal flu. It will also help reduce the burden on Canada’s health care system during this unprecedented time.

The flu shot will not protect against COVID-19, but it will help reduce your risk of getting the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Having both illnesses at the same time could put you at a higher risk for severe illness.  

Getting the flu shot will not increase your risk of illness from COVID-19. For more information, please refer to this Canadian research study.

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