Main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)
The main symptoms of coronavirus (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)
- 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
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
- Stay at home and do not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Check if people you live with need to self-isolate.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in children
Children can get coronavirus (COVID-19), but they seem to get it less often than adults and it's usually less serious.
The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- a high temperature
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot, for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
If your child has any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if they have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
- Your child should stay at home and not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get the test result – they can only leave home to have the test. Check if you and anyone else your child lives with need to self-isolate.
How to look after yourself at home if you have coronavirus (COVID-19)
Most people with coronavirus (COVID-19) feel better within a few weeks. You may be able to look after yourself at home while you recover. While you're ill, ask a friend, family member or neighbour to check up on you. Arrange a regular call or talk through a doorway (not face to face) so they can check how you're doing.
If you have a high temperature, it can help to:
- get lots of rest
- drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to avoid dehydration – drink enough so your pee is light yellow and clear
- take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you feel uncomfortable
If you have a cough, it's best to avoid lying on your back. Lie on your side or sit upright instead. To help ease a cough, try having a teaspoon of honey. But do not give honey to babies under 12 months.
If you're feeling breathless, it can help to keep your room cool.
Try turning the heating down or opening a window. Do not use a fan as it may spread the virus.
You could also try:
- breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth, with your lips together like you're gently blowing out a candle
- sitting upright in a chair
- relaxing your shoulders, so you're not hunched
- leaning forward slightly – support yourself by putting your hands on your knees or on something stable like a chair
Try not to panic if you're feeling breathless. This can make it worse
Get advice from NHS 111 or a GP if:
- you're feeling gradually more unwell or more breathless
- you have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
- you feel very weak, achy or tired
- you're shaking or shivering
- you've lost your appetite
- you're unable to care for yourself – for example, tasks like washing and dressing or making food are too difficult
- you still feel unwell after 4 weeks – this may be long COVID
Go to A&E immediately or call 999 if:
- you're so breathless that you're unable to say short sentences when resting
- your breathing has got suddenly worse
- you cough up blood
- you feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
- you have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and does not fade when you roll a glass over it
- you collapse or faint
- you feel agitated, confused or very drowsy
- you've stopped peeing or are peeing much less than usual
Post-Covid Information Pack
Located to the next to this text is a handy guide including lots of information to help you to recover and manage your symptoms following COVID-19. Information in this pack includes:
- What is COVID-19 and what symptoms should I expect?
- What do I do if my symptoms get worse? And how might I feel?
- Positions to manage breathlessness
- Exercises to help manage your breathing
- Breathlessness management rectangle
- Managing your cough
- Exercise to help clear phlegm
- Positions to help clear your phlegm
- Managing post COVID fatigue
- & much more useful information