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Symptoms of COVID-19

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Last updated: May 2024

Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. Symptoms may vary from person to person. Some people may experience mild symptoms, while others have more severe symptoms.

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Sometimes people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days. Children have similar but milder symptoms to adults. To learn more about symptoms of COVID-19, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control: Symptoms.

If you have symptoms

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, use the Province of British Columbia: COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool to help you decide if you need further assessment or testing.

If you need testing, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control: Testing for COVID-19 to find a COVID-19 collection centre near you.

You need to self-isolate while you wait for your test result, so you don't spread COVID-19 to others. To learn more about self-isolation, who should self-isolate and ending self-isolation, visit BC Centre for Disease Control: Self-Isolation and Self-Monitoring.

To learn more about what to do if you are sick, how to prevent spreading it and what to do if you need medical care, visit the BC Centre for Disease Control: If you have COVID-19.

Some of the symptoms associated with COVID-19 are common to other conditions. For more information on what you can do if you have symptoms, visit:

You can manage many of the symptoms of COVID-19 at home. Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest and use a humidifier or hot shower to ease a cough or sore throat.

Some symptoms can also be signs of other medical issues and you may need to seek medical care. If you are unsure whether to seek care or get tested, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. If you or someone in your care is having severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, having a hard time waking up, feeling confused or losing consciousness, you should seek emergency medical care by calling 9-1-1 or going to your nearest emergency department.

If you have general health questions, call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 anytime, day or night. If you have trouble breathing, can't drink, or feel much worse, go to an urgent care center or emergency room. If you or someone has chest pain, trouble breathing, or severe bleeding, call 9-1-1 right away.

If you are a priority population

Most people recover from coronaviruses on their own. However, some people may have a higher chance of developing a more severe illness or complications due to other health conditions. These are called priority populations and specific precautions and treatment may be needed to keep these people safe.

Find more information about priority (and vulnerable) populations:

If you are experiencing lingering symptoms

If you had COVID-19 more than three months ago and are still experiencing symptoms, you may have “long COVID.” Long COVID can have a wide range of symptoms and can last months (or years) after your initial illness. Long COVID can impact your quality of life and function.

If you are living with persistent post-COVID symptoms and are looking for help, visit the Provincial Health Services Authority: Living with Post-COVID Symptoms page to find fact sheets and videos to support your recovery, and information on how to get referred to the Network.

Common questions about COVID-19

Find more information about symptoms and other common questions about COVID-19, visit:

Find more information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, your family and your community, visit HealthLink BC's Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The information provided above has been adapted from the BC Centre for Disease: COVID-19 and BC Centre for Disease: Symptoms, accessed May 2024, and the Government of Canada: COVID-19: Symptoms, treatment, what to do if you feel sick accessed May 2024.