How Quickly Symptoms Show and What You Should Do Next
An important part of treating yourself if you become infected with COVID-19 and preventing yourself from spreading the virus is recognising the symptoms.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to that of the flu but the number of symptoms and the severity of them varies from person to person ranging from mild illnesses to severe illness and even death.
The variation in severity of the virus means that some people may recover quickly while others may be unwell for longer periods and potentially suffer more effects as a result.
According to the CDC, the main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Persistent cough
- Shortness of breath
Signs and symptoms can begin to show anywhere from 2-14 days after infection.
Antibiotics won’t work against the virus so if, for example, cough and cold medicine are having no effect on your health then it could be an indicator that you have contracted COVID-19.
That is not to say that if you or someone you know is coughing that it is COVID-19 as it could simply be a common cold as we are still in winter. Regardless, just as with a regular cold, you should try and avoid coming into contact with people if you are ill or if they are ill if you can help it. Will a face mask help?
The NHS suggests that you should self-isolate for at least seven days if you suffer from a fever or have developed a new continuous dry cough as this could be a sign of having the virus.
For severe symptoms of the virus (high temperature or continue cough) the NHS have advised to use the 111 coronavirus service. Only call 111 if you are unable to get the help you need online, and for any life-threatening emergencies you should always call 999.
You may also wish to call them if your symptoms and their effects are having a severe impact on your health. The elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing complications and being more heavily impacted by the virus.
If you are having difficulty breathing, have a persistent pain or pressure in the chest or bluish lips and face, you must seek urgent medical attention.
The recovery rate for COVID-19 is reassuring with almost half of those who had the virus have recovered so far but there have been over more than 19,000 deaths worldwide too. Is there a cure?
Therefore it is important for you to self-diagnose to a certain extent so that you are aware if you have the virus or not and know how well your body is fighting back against it.
If you identify that you have or could potentially be suffering from COVID-19 when experiencing these symptoms then you can self-isolate to stop the spread so that fewer people are infected as a result.
However, you may infect other people with the virus before you start showing signs of suffering from COVID-19 yourself. Learn more about how to protect yourself and others.
Therefore, there are signs you can look out for and knowing about the symptoms can help but it doesn’t keep you fully protected from others or others protected from you.
Learn more about the virus
- Methods of ensuring COVID-19 hotspots have access to 70% Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitisers
- Everything you need to know about the coronavirus: where it came from, how far it's spread, how long it will last...
- Coronavirus FAQs
- The phases of the UK's Government action plan
- The misinformation that has been published on the coronavirus
- What you can do to lessen the impact of COVID-19 on business
- The latest confirmed cases