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Symptoms of COVID-19

If you have any common symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus), self-isolate (stay in your room) and phone your GP straight away. Your GP will tell you if you need a COVID-19 test.

Other people in your household will need to restrict their movements (stay at home).

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

You may not have all of these symptoms. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show. They can be similar to symptoms of cold and flu.

An early diagnosis from your GP means you can get the help you need and avoid spreading the virus, if you have it.

Call the emergency services on 112 or 999 if you are very short of breath. For example, if you are so short of breath that you cannot complete a sentence

Read about how to manage symptoms of COVID-19 at home.

Compare symptoms of COVID-19, flu and cold

Symptoms

COVID-19

Symptoms range from mild to severe

Flu

Abrupt onset of symptoms

Cold

Gradual onset of symptoms

Fever or chills

Common

Common

Rare

Cough

Common (usually dry)

Common (usually dry)

Mild

Shortness of breath

Common

No

No

Lost or changed sense of smell or taste

Common

Rare

Rare

Fatigue

Common

Common

Sometimes

Aches and pains

Common

Common

Common

Sore throat

Sometimes

Sometimes

Common

Headaches

Sometimes

Common

Rare

Runny or stuffy nose

Sometimes

Sometimes

Common

Feeling sick or vomiting

Rare

Sometimes

No

Diarrhoea

Rare

Sometimes in children

No

Sneezing

No

No

Common

If you are in doubt about any symptoms you have, phone your GP. They will discuss your symptoms with you and advise you on any steps you may need to take.

When a fever could be something else

Some people may get a mild fever for a couple of days after they get the flu vaccine. This is normal.

Fever is also a symptom of meningitis.

Contact your GP straight away if you have a fever and other symptoms of meningitis:

  • severe headache
  • stiff neck
  • sensitivity to light

Related topics

How COVID-19 is spread

Protect yourself and others from COVID-19

How to clean your hands

Last updated: 25 November at 10.35am

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