Coronavirus (COVID-19): symptoms
A coronavirus is a type of virus. COVID-19 is a strain of coronavirus. For some, symptoms can last weeks or months after the infection has gone. Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature), or;
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual), or;
- anosmia - the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell (it can also affect your sense of taste)
You may not have all of the symptoms or your symptoms may be similar to the cold or flu. Symptoms may vary for different age groups or different variants of the virus.
You can still get infected if you are fully vaccinated, however your symptoms may be milder than someone who has not been fully vaccinated.
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:
- stay at home and self-isolate
- take a lateral flow test to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible
Further information on testing for COVID-19 is available at:
Further information on self-isolating is available at:
COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms but for other people it can be more serious and can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or ‘long COVID’.
Long COVID is a term used to describe signs and symptoms that continue or develop after COVID‑19.
It includes both ongoing symptoms of COVID‑19 (4-12 weeks) and post‑COVID‑19 syndrome (over 12 weeks).
Common long COVID symptoms include:
- problems with memory or concentration (‘brain fog’)
- pins and needles
- palpitations or chest pain
- depression or anxiety
How long it takes to recover from COVID-19 is different for everybody. Many people feel better in a few days or weeks and most will make a full recovery within 12 weeks. But for some people, symptoms can last longer.
The chances of long-term symptoms do not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.
Further information about long COVID is available at the link below:
Getting support if you have long COVID
Consider contacting your GP if you are worried about symptoms four weeks or more after having COVID-19.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and the impact they’re having on your life.
They may suggest some tests to find out more about your symptoms and rule out other things that could be causing them. The tests might include:
- blood tests
- checking your blood pressure and heart rate
- a chest X-ray
Your doctor will talk to you about the care and support you might need and offer advice about how to manage and monitor your symptoms at home.
If the symptoms are having a big impact on your life, you may be referred to a long COVID assessment or pulmonary rehabilitation service, or to a service that specialises in the specific symptoms you have.
These services can help manage your symptoms and help you recover.
You can find more information to support your recovery at the links below: