Symptoms of COVID-19

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.

Key symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Difficulty breathing

Other symptoms may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • 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 page.

If you have symptoms

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, use the BC COVID-19 Symptom 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 page 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 potentially spread COVID-19 to others. To learn more about self-isolation, who should self-isolate and ending self-isolation, see 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 page.

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, see:

You can manage many of the symptoms that are common with 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 or concerns, contact HealthLinkBC (8-1-1) at any time, day or night. If it becomes harder to breathe, you can't drink anything or feel much worse seek urgent medical care at an urgent and primary care centre or emergency department. If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing or severe bleeding, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.

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:

Common questions about COVID-19

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

Find more information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself, your family and your community, see Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Last updated: March 21, 2020

The information provided above has been adapted from the BC Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 BCCDC: Symptoms page , accessed December 17, 2020, and the Public Health Agency of Canada PHAC: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment accessed April 21 2020.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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