Health Information

Main symptoms

Symptoms of Coronavirus in adults can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature 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
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • The symptoms are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses, such as colds and flu

What to do if you have symptoms

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and either:

  • you have a high temperature
  • you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities

Take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.

What to do if you've tested positive

If you have COVID-19, you can pass on the virus to other people for up to 10 days from when your infection starts. Many people will no longer be infectious to others after five days.

You should:

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for five days
  • avoiding meeting people at higher risk from COVID-19 for 10 days, especially if their immune system means they’re at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, even if they’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine

This starts from the day after you did the test.

If a child or young person aged 18 or under tests positive for COVID-19, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for three days. This starts from the day after they did the test.

Children and young people tend to be infectious to others for less time than adults. If they’re well and do not have a temperature after three days, there’s a much lower risk that they’ll pass on COVID-19 to others.

Coronavirus tests

Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests are no longer free for most people.

Some people can still get free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests from the NHS. PCR tests (tests that go to a lab) are less likely to be used. You can get tests if:

  • you have a health condition which means you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments
  • you’re going into hospital
  • you work in the NHS or in adult social care

What to do if you're not eligible

If you still want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself.

You can buy rapid lateral flow tests from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online. Find links below on how to find them. 

Last updated 7 July 2022
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