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Symptoms of coronavirus

Last updated: 7 May 2020 at 3.41pm

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to appear. They can be similar to the symptoms of cold and flu.

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

Compare symptoms of coronavirus, flu and cold

Symptoms

Coronavirus

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

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 have any of these symptoms, you should behave as if you have the virus and self-isolate for 14 days. People in your household will need to restrict their movements.

You may also need to be tested for coronavirus. Find out when you should call your GP to be assessed for a test.

Our scientists are also discovering that some people’s symptoms are so mild that they have had coronavirus without realising it.

Signs of meningitis

Contact your GP immediately if you notice the following symptoms along with a fever:

  • Severe headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light

Compare hay fever and coronavirus symptoms

The pollen count is higher now so more people will experience hay fever. If you normally get it, you will be familiar with the typical signs and symptoms of hay fever. They usually happen at the same time every year.

While there are some similarities between the symptoms of coronavirus and hay fever, there are also ways to tell the difference.

Hay fever symptoms get worse when you are exposed to certain triggers. For example pollen, weeds or grass.

Hay fever does not cause a high temperature and most people with hay fever do not feel unwell.

While coronavirus can cause symptoms in your upper airways such as loss of smell or a blocked nose, it is usually associated with a high temperature, aches and pains and a cough.

Talk to your GP if you have severe or persistent symptoms.

Read more about hay fever

Related topics

How coronavirus is spread

Protect yourself and others from coronavirus

How to clean your hands