Last Updated on July 11, 2020 by Manuel Yunus
During the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been looking out for signs in ourselves or others that we might have the infection.
The list of possible symptoms continues to be updated by health experts as they learn more about this new disease.
One of the main clues that you have Covid-19 is a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to actually measure your temperature).
Another is 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).
And on May 18, loss or change to your sense of smell or taste was added to the list.
This means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
But there are other symptoms too that you may not be aware of yet.
According to the World Health Organisation, the most common symptoms are:
- dry cough
Note the inclusion of tiredness in that list.
It adds a list of less common symptoms. These are:
- aches and pains
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
- a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
And it says serious symptoms of Covid-19 are as follows:
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- chest pain or pressure
- loss of speech or movement
The WHO urges people to seek immediate medical attention if they have serious symptoms.
Those with mild symptoms who are otherwise healthy are told to manage their symptoms at home.
On average it takes five to six days from when someone is infected with the virus for symptoms to show, but it can take up to 14 days.
WHO said: “Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
“The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is be well informed about the virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face.
“The Covid-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).”
Use our coronavirus widget below to get latest updates on the infection from your postcode area.
What to do if you have symptoms
NHS advice if you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus is as follows:
- Stay at home (self-isolate) – do not leave your home or have visitors. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also self-isolate.
- Get a test – get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. Anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, should also get a test if they have symptoms.
Use the NHS online service – or call them on 111 – if you’re not sure what to do.
The NHS says you should not go to a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy if you have symptoms, as you could spread the virus to others.
How to get tested
After first noticing symptoms, you have four days to book a drive-through or walk-through test at a test site or order a home test kit.
Order the kit by 3pm on Day 4 to make sure you can do the test in the first five days.
On Day 5, it’s too late to order a home test but you can still book a test at a test site.
After the fifth day of having symptoms, the NHS says it’s too late to ask to get tested.
Manuel is a health enthusiast, researcher and writer. Manuel began his writing career during his undergraduate days writing for the school magazine and rose to the position of Editor before graduation.