Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment

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Symptoms of COVID-19

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. Symptoms may also vary in different age groups. Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:

Children have been more commonly reported to have abdominal symptoms, and skin changes or rashes.

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

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

Evidence indicates that the virus can be transmitted to others from someone who is infected but not showing symptoms. This includes people who:

While experts know that these kinds of transmissions are happening among those in close contact or in close physical settings, it is not known to what extent. This means it is extremely important to follow the proven preventative measures.

If you or your child become ill

If you are showing symptoms of COVID-19, reduce your contact with others:

Children who have mild COVID-19 symptoms are able to stay at home with a caregiver throughout their recovery without needing hospitalization. If you are caring for a child who has suspected or probable COVID-19, it is important to follow the advice for caregivers. This advice will help you protect yourself, others in your home, as well as others in the community.

If you become sick while travelling back to Canada:

Check if you have been exposed

Have you been on a recent flight, cruise or train? Check the listed exposure locations to see if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

You can also join the effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 with Canada's free COVID Alert app. It notifies you if someone you were near in the past 14 days tells the app they tested positive. Download COVID Alert.

Take care of your mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic is new and unexpected. This situation can be unsettling and can cause a sense of loss of control. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or worried in a crisis. Make sure to care for your mental and physical wellbeing and to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.

Getting tested

Since the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can be absent, mild, severe or can look like the flu or other illnesses, the only way to confirm you have COVID-19 is through a laboratory test.

For information about COVID-19 testing in your area, contact your local public health authority.

If you have tested positive

If you've been tested for coronavirus and receive a positive test result, you must isolate at home, whether you have symptoms or not.

If you have symptoms (symptomatic), you must

If you do not have symptoms (asymptomatic) you must:

Refer to your public health authority to find out how many days you should remain in isolation.

Treating coronavirus

Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own.

If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should self-monitor and consult your health care provider. They may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

Vaccine, therapeutics and medical devices

We do not yet have a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, but research and development are underway. Health Canada has introduced innovative and agile regulatory measures that will speed up the review of COVID-19 health products while still meeting standards for:

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

Flu vaccine

If you have received a flu vaccine, it will not protect against coronaviruses, but will help prevent the flu. Getting the flu could make you more vulnerable to other infections.

Getting the flu vaccine will not increase your risk of illness from coronavirus. For more information, please refer to this recently published Canadian research study.

About coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some cause illness in people and others cause illness in animals. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses, similar to the common cold.

COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people, and more rarely, these can then spread from person to person through close contact.

There have been 2 other specific coronaviruses that have spread from animals to humans and which have caused severe illness in humans. These are the:

  1. severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS CoV)
  2. Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS CoV)

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