Symptoms of COVID-19

If you have any common symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus), self-isolate (stay in your room) and get a COVID-19 test. Other people in your household will need to restrict their movements (stay at home).

To get a free COVID-19 test you can:

Common symptoms

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.

If you have symptoms, do not attend a vaccination appointment if you have one scheduled. You can call HSELive on 1800 700 700 to request a new appointment date.

Immediate action required: Call 112 or 999 if:

  • you are very short of breath and cannot complete a sentence

How to manage symptoms of COVID-19 at home

Compare symptoms of COVID-19, flu and cold

Symptoms of COVID-19 are usually mild to severe. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly, while cold symptoms develop gradually.

Compare symptoms of COVID-19, flu and cold
Symptoms COVID-19 Flu Cold
Symptoms Fever or chills COVID-19 Common Flu Common Cold Rare
Symptoms Cough COVID-19 Common (usually dry) Flu Common (usually dry) Cold Mild
Symptoms Shortness of breath COVID-19 Common Flu No Cold No
Symptoms Lost or changed sense of smell or taste COVID-19 Common Flu Rare Cold Rare
Symptoms Fatigue COVID-19 Common Flu Common Cold Sometimes
Symptoms Aches and pains COVID-19 Common Flu Common Cold Common
Symptoms Sore throat COVID-19 Sometimes Flu Sometimes Cold Common
Symptoms Headaches COVID-19 Sometimes Flu Common Cold Rare
Symptoms Runny or Stuffy Nose COVID-19 Sometimes Flu Sometimes Cold Common
Symptoms Feeling sick or vomiting COVID-19 Rare Flu Sometimes Cold No
Symptoms Diarrhoea COVID-19 Rare Flu Sometimes in children Cold No
Symptoms Sneezing COVID-19 No Flu No Cold 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.

Read about how COVID-19 is spread

Read how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19

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.

Urgent advice: Contact your GP straight away if

you have a fever and other symptoms of meningitis:

  • severe headache
  • stiff neck
  • sensitivity to light

Last updated: 17 June 2021 at 3.30pm