Symptoms of coronavirus

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible. Stay at home until you get the result.

Main symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

What to do if you have symptoms

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:

  1. Get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible.
  2. You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

When to self-isolate and what to do

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19).

This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.

Self-isolation is different to:

  • social distancing – general advice for everyone to avoid close contact with other people
  • shielding – advice for people at high risk from coronavirus

Information: 

It's a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. You could be fined if you do not self-isolate.

When to self-isolate

Self-isolate immediately if:

  • you have any symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
  • you've tested positive for coronavirus – this means you have coronavirus
  • someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive
  • someone in your support bubble has symptoms and you’ve been in close contact with them since their symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started
  • someone in your support bubble tested positive and you’ve been in close contact with them since they had the test or in the 48 hours before their test

How to self-isolate

You must not leave your home if you're self-isolating.

Don’t

  • do not go to work, school or public places – work from home if you can

  • do not go on public transport or use taxis

  • do not go out to get food and medicine – order it online or by phone, or ask someone to bring it to your home

  • do not have visitors in your home, including friends and family – except for people providing essential care

  • do not go out to exercise – exercise at home or in your garden, if you have one

When to get a test

Get a test as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of coronavirus.

The symptoms are:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

The test needs to be done in the first 8 days of having symptoms.

You do not need to get a test if you have no symptoms or if you have different symptoms.

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