Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment
Think you might have symptoms?
On this page
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- If you or your child become ill
- Getting tested
- If you have tested positive
- Treating coronavirus
- About coronaviruses
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:
- new or worsening cough
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- temperature equal to or over 38°C
- feeling feverish
- fatigue or weakness
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of smell or taste
- gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
- feeling very unwell
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:
- have not yet developed symptoms (pre-symptomatic)
- never develop symptoms (asymptomatic)
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:
- isolate yourself at home for 14 days to avoid spreading it to others
- if you live with others, stay in a separate room or keep a 2-metre distance
- visit a health care professional or call your local public health authority for information on getting tested
- call ahead to tell them your symptoms and follow their instructions
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:
- inform the flight attendant or a Canadian border services officer
- advise a Canada border services agent on arrival in Canada if you believe you were exposed to someone who was sick with COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms
- this is required under the Quarantine Act
- the Canada border services agent will provide instructions for you to follow
Check if you have been exposed
Have you been on a recent flight, cruise, train, or at a public gathering? Check the listed exposure locations to see if you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
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.
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
- isolate at home (as soon as your symptoms start), and remain isolated for 14 days or as directed by your public health authority
If you do not have symptoms (asymptomatic) you must:
- isolate at home as soon as you receive the confirmed laboratory test, and remain isolated for 14 days or as directed by your public health authority
- if you did not have symptoms when you got tested, but then develop symptoms during your 14-day isolation period, you must restart your isolation time
Refer to your public health authority to find out how many days you should remain in isolation.
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.
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.
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:
What COVID-19 information do you need?
- Health and safety
- Prevention and risks
- What is my risk of getting COVID-19 in Canada?
- Quarantine (self-isolate) vs isolate
- Physical (social) distancing and how it helps minimize COVID-19
- Am I able to go outside?
- Surface contamination
- Pregnancy and risks related to COVID-19
- Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food?
- Can my pet or other animals get sick from this virus?
- Wearing masks
- Symptoms and treatment
- Reduce COVID-19 in your community
- For individuals
- For communities, including child and youth settings and outdoor spaces
- How do I care for a person with COVID-19 at home?
- I am an essential employee, what can I do to protect myself while on the job?
- Public health measures to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace
- Are gatherings still allowed to take place?
- Drug and medical device supply monitoring
- Travel restrictions and exemptions
- Are Canadians currently able to travel to the U.S.?
- Travellers arriving in Canada
- Avoid all non-essential travel
- Avoid all travel on cruise ships
- Registration of Canadians Abroad service
- Check if you have been exposed during recent travel
- I have to travel for essential reasons. How can I reduce my risk of infection?
- I am a Canadian travelling abroad and I need support. Who can I contact?
- I am a traveller trying to return home to Canada. How do I get financial support while abroad?
- For clinical trial sponsors
- Prevention and risks
- Income support
- Additional economic and financial support
- Individuals and families
- Indigenous peoples
- People who need it most
- Youth, post-secondary students and recent graduates
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB)
- Creating new jobs and opportunities
- Launching a new national service initiative
- Helping students continue their studies in the fall
- Supporting international students working in an essential service
- Suspending repayment and interest on student and apprentice loans
- Providing youth with mental health support
- Support for businesses
- Avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees
- Access to credit
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)
- Rural businesses and communities
- Assisting innovative and early-stage businesses
- Young entrepreneurs
- Businesses in the territories
- Small and medium-sized businesses unable to access other support measures
- Creating new jobs and opportunities for youth
- Taxes and tariffs
- Self-employed individuals
- Indigenous businesses
- Support for sectors
- Agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture, fisheries
- Keeping workers in the food supply chain safe
- Increasing credit availability
- Assisting the fish and seafood processing sector
- Helping food producers access more PPE and adapt to health protocols
- Helping producers faced with additional costs incurred by COVID-19
- Increasing the Canadian Dairy Commission borrowing limit
- Helping redistribute existing and unsold inventories
- Increasing interim payments from 50% to 75% through AgriStability
- Expanding the AgriInsurance to include labour shortage
- Cultural, heritage and sports
- Air transportation
- Non-profit and charitable
- Agriculture, agri-food, aquaculture, fisheries
- About COVID-19
- E-mail updates on COVID-19
- Current confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Canada
- More details about the cases reported in Canada
- Canadian borders
- Support for Canadians abroad
- What is COVID-19?
- Incubation period
- How does it spread?
- What are the risks of getting it?
- Where can I get information specific to my province or territory?
- How governments are working together
- How can I make a difference in Canada’s COVID-19 response efforts?
- Resources for parents and children
- People with disabilities
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