Symptoms & Guidance


People with COVID-19 have shown a wide range of symptoms ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

While most could experience mild illness, there is the potential for more severe signs and symptoms to develop. If someone is showing any of the following, seek emergency medical care immediately.

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

If emergency care is needed, call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility and notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

Protection is Prevention

COVID-19 is known to spread from person to person easily especially between people in close contact (within 6 feet) & respiratory droplets produced through coughing, sneezing, breathing, singing, and talking. People who are infected but asymptomatic (without symptoms) can also spread the virus. The virus can also be spread, though less commonly, by airborne transmission and contact with contaminated surfaces. Regardless, it is important to take every possible measure to protect yourself and others.

Wash your hands often. If you been in a public place or if you’ve blown your nose, coughed, or sneezed, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. It’s important to wash before eating/preparing food and touching your face and after using the restroom, leaving a public place, handling your mask, changing a diaper, care for someone sick, or touching animals/pets. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, cover all of your hands and rub until they feel dry.

Avoid close contact. Put at least six feet of distance between yourself and others who do not live in your household. Avoid close contact with people who are sick; remember that some people without symptoms can spread the virus.

Cover your mouth and nose with a mask. Masks help prevent you getting or spreading the virus. Wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live with you. Masks should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, the unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to review the mask without assistance. Social distancing is still necessary even if you are wearing a mask, it is not a substitute for social distance.

Cover up coughs and sneezes. Use a tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze, do not spit. When done, throw used tissues away and immediately wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched and dirty surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Find information on EPA-registered household disinfectants here.

Monitor your health daily. Be alert for symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath, or anything listed above especially after running errands, going into the office/workplace, and in settings were physical distancing is difficult. If symptoms develop, take your temperature and follow guidance below.

What To Do If You Think You or Someone You Know May Have COVID-19

If you are sick with or think you might have COVID-19, see below to take care of yourself and to protect others.

Stay home except to get medical care. Don’t leave home or visit public areas unless you need to get medical care. Get rest, stay hydrated, and take over-the-counter medications to help feel better. If you need medical care, contact your provide before you go. If you have trouble breathing or have any other emergency warning signs, get care. If at all possible, avoid public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.

Separate yourself from others. Stay in a specific room and away from other peoples/pets in your home. If possible, use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around others or pets, wear a mask.

Tell your close contacts they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread the virus starting two days before the person has any symptoms or test positive.

Monitor your symptoms. Symptoms include fever, cough, or other symptoms. Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department.

Look for emergency warning signs such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and/or bluish lips or face; seek emergency medical care immediately. Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility to notify the operator that your are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.

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