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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptom Checker

Overview

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. It is an illness that was first found in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide.

The virus can cause fever, cough, and trouble breathing. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and make it hard to breathe without help. It can cause death.

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses. They cause the common cold. They also cause more serious illnesses like Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus. That means it's a new type that has not been seen in people before.

This virus spreads person-to-person through droplets from coughing and sneezing. It can also spread when you are close to someone who is infected. And it can spread when you touch something that has the virus on it, such as a doorknob or a tabletop.

The virus is diagnosed with a test that uses a swab of fluid from the nose or throat or sometimes uses sputum from the lungs. Other tests may be done, such as blood tests and CT scans of the lungs. But even if you don't have a test, a doctor may ask you questions and determine that you may have the virus.

Most people who get sick from the virus can recover at home. Your doctor may have you take acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for a fever. Treatment in the hospital for more serious cases includes support, such as help with breathing.

You can find the latest information from these sources:

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Go to the CDC website at www.cdc.gov for updates about the disease and travel advice. The website also tells you ways to prevent the spread of infection.
  • World Health Organization (WHO). Go to the WHO website at www.who.int for information about the virus, including updates on the outbreak and for travel advice.

Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.

Check Your Symptoms

Are you concerned that you may have COVID-19?
Yes
Confirm COVID-19 concern
No
Deny COVID-19 concern
How old are you?
Less than 12 years
Less than 12 years
12 years or older
12 years or older
Are you male or female?
Male
Male
Female
Female

The medical assessment of symptoms is based on the body parts you have.

  • If you are transgender or nonbinary, choose the sex that matches the body parts (such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina) you now have in the area where you are having symptoms.
  • If your symptoms aren’t related to those organs, you can choose the gender you identify with.
  • If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice (once as "male" and once as "female"). This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you.
Yes
Confirm life-threatening symptoms
No
Deny life-threatening symptoms
Do you have serious symptoms?
Yes
Confirm serious symptoms
No
Deny serious symptoms
Do any of these apply to you?
None of these.
Deny care resident and health care worker and public health notification
You live in a residential facility, such as a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or a correctional or detention facility.
Confirm residential facility
You have worked or volunteered in a health care setting in the last 2 weeks.
Confirm health care worker
You have been notified by your local public heath department about a possible exposure or test result.
Confirm notified by public health
Yes
Confirm symptoms of COVID-19
No
Deny symptoms of COVID-19
Do you have any high risk health problems?
Certain health conditions and treatments may increase your risk for severe illness if you get COVID-19.
Yes
Confirm high risk health problems
No
Deny high risk health problems
In the past 2 weeks, have you been exposed to COVID-19?
For example, have you lived in or visited an area where the virus is spreading, or have you had close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Yes
Confirm exposure COVID-19
No
Deny exposure COVID-19

Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:

  • Your age. Babies and older adults tend to get sicker quicker.
  • Your overall health. If you have a condition such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, or heart disease, you may need to pay closer attention to certain symptoms and seek care sooner.
  • Medicines you take. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), medicines that suppress the immune system like steroids or chemotherapy, herbal remedies, or supplements can cause symptoms or make them worse.
  • Recent health events, such as surgery or injury. These kinds of events can cause symptoms afterwards or make them more serious.
  • Your health habits and lifestyle, such as eating and exercise habits, smoking, alcohol or drug use, sexual history, and travel.

Try Home Treatment

You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.

  • Try home treatment to relieve the symptoms.
  • Call your doctor if symptoms get worse or you have any concerns (for example, if symptoms are not getting better as you would expect). You may need care sooner.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Headache.
  • Sore throat.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Your risk exposure to COVID-19 may include the following:

  • In the last 2 weeks, you have had close contact with a person who has symptoms and a positive test for COVID-19.
    • Close contact means being within 6 feet (2 meters) of someone with COVID-19 for a prolonged period of time. You have cared for, lived with, visited, or shared a health care waiting area or room with someone who has COVID-19.
    • You have been coughed on or sneezed on by someone who has COVID-19.
  • In the last 2 weeks, you lived in or visited a place where COVID-19 is spreading through the community.

High-risk health problems may include:

  • Being age 65 years or older.
  • Chronic lung disease or asthma.
  • Smoking.
  • Serious heart conditions.
  • Having a weakened immune system, such as with cancer treatment.
  • Severe obesity. This means a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or higher.
  • Diabetes.
  • Chronic kidney disease and having dialysis.
  • Liver disease.
  • Pregnancy.

Serious symptoms may include:

  • Moderate trouble breathing. (You can't speak full sentences.)
  • Coughing up blood (more than about 1 teaspoon).
  • Signs of low blood pressure. These include feeling lightheaded; being too weak to stand; and having cold, pale, clammy skin.

Emergency symptoms may include:

  • Severe trouble breathing. (You can't talk at all.)
  • Blue lips or face.
  • Severe and constant pain or pressure in the chest.
  • Severe and constant dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Acting confused (new or worsening).
  • Passing out (losing consciousness) or being very hard to wake up.
  • Slurred speech (new or worsening).
  • New seizures or seizures that won't stop.

Contact occupational health or risk management at your facility

Based on your answers, you need to contact occupational health or risk management.

You may need information on how to self-isolate, take care of yourself, and monitor your symptoms.

Follow instructions

Based on your answers, you need to follow all instructions in the public health notification.

You may need information on how to self-isolate, take care of yourself, and monitor your symptoms.

Stay healthy

Based on your answers, your risk for COVID-19 is low at this time.

  • If you develop a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, answer the symptom checker questions again or call your doctor or a local health clinic. You may need care.

To protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze. Use soap and water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily. These include doorknobs, light switches, toilets, and sinks.
  • Avoid contact with people who may be infected.
  • Avoid crowds and public areas, and try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people. If you go out, wash your hands as soon as you get back.
  • Limit visitors. Having fewer people around you means less chance of being exposed to the virus.
  • Don't travel if you don't have to, and avoid public transportation if you can.
  • Limit shopping to essentials, like food and medicines.
  • Don't eat in restaurants. (Takeout and food deliveries are okay.)
  • If you are over age 65 or have a high-risk health problem, it's especially important that you stay where you live and that you take these steps to protect yourself.

If you live in group housing, such as a community shelter, be sure to follow instructions from the group housing staff. They can tell you how to stay safer in the shelter and how to keep others safe.

Be sure to follow all instructions from your local health authorities. These may include stay-at-home orders, guidelines for social distancing and face covers, and information about access to health care, COVID-19 testing, and other essential services.

Self-isolate, and monitor your symptoms

Based on your answers, you should self-isolate in the place where you live.

If you develop a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, or your symptoms become worse, answer the symptom checker questions again or call your doctor or a local health clinic. You may need care.

  • Stay where you live, and separate yourself from others, including those you live with. Do not leave unless you need medical care. Self-isolate until it's safe to be around others again.
    • If you have symptoms, it's safe when you haven't had a fever for 3 days and your symptoms have improved and it's been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
    • Talk to your doctor about whether you also need testing, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
    • If you were exposed to the virus but don't have symptoms, it's safe to be around others 14 days after exposure.
  • Wear a cloth face cover anytime you are around other people.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Follow all steps to prevent spread of the illness, such as washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.
  • If you have symptoms, then rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take acetaminophen such as Tylenol for fever and body aches.

If you live in group housing, such as a community shelter, be sure to follow instructions from the group housing staff. They can tell you how to stay safer in the shelter and how to keep others safe.

Be sure to follow all instructions from your local health authorities. These may include stay-at-home orders, guidelines for social distancing and face coverings, and information about access to health care, COVID-19 testing, and other essential services.

Seek Care Today

Based on your answers, you may need care or testing.

Most people have a mild illness and are able to recover without medical care.

  • Call your doctor or a local health clinic today to see if you need care. If you are told to go to a care center, wear a cloth face cover.
  • Stay where you live and separate yourself from others, including those you live with. Ask the doctor how long you need to self-isolate.
  • Do not leave unless you need medical care.
  • Wear a cloth face cover anytime you are around other people.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Follow all steps to prevent spread of the illness, such as washing your hands, cleaning surfaces, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Rest, drink plenty of fluids, and take acetaminophen such as Tylenol for fever and body aches. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

If you live in group housing, such as a community shelter, be sure to follow instructions from the group housing staff. They can tell you how to stay safer in the shelter and how to keep others safe.

If your symptoms become worse, answer the symptom checker questions again or call your doctor or a local health clinic. You may need care.

Seek Care Now

Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.

  • Call your doctor now to discuss the symptoms and arrange for care. Tell them you are worried about having COVID-19.
  • Wear a cloth face cover over your nose and mouth.
  • If you cannot reach your doctor or you don't have one, seek care in the next hour.
  • You do not need to call an ambulance unless:
    • You cannot travel safely either by driving yourself or by having someone else drive you.
    • You are in an area where heavy traffic or other problems may slow you down.

Contact facility staff

Based on your answers, you need to contact your residential caregivers or correctional or detention facility authorities.

You may need information on how to self-isolate, take care of yourself, and monitor your symptoms.

Call 911 Now

Based on your answers, you need emergency care.

Call 911 or other emergency services now. Tell them you are worried about having COVID-19.

Wear a cloth face cover over your nose and mouth.

Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.

Home Treatment

If you are sick with COVID-19, there is no medicine to fight the virus. But there are things you can do to reduce your symptoms and feel better while you recover at home.

  • Rest.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Take acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, if you need to relieve a fever and body aches. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Steps to take to avoid spreading the virus

  • Stay home and separate yourself from others, including those you live with. Self-isolate until it's safe to be around others again.
    • If you have symptoms, it's safe when you haven't had a fever for 3 days and your symptoms have improved and it's been at least 10 days since your symptoms started.
    • Talk to your doctor about whether you also need testing, especially if you have a weakened immune system.
    • If you were exposed to the virus but don't have symptoms, it's safe to be around others 14 days after exposure.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze. Use soap and water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Avoid contact with people in your home. Try to stay at least 6 feet away from others. If possible, stay in a separate bedroom and use a separate bathroom. Anytime you're around other people, wear a cloth face cover.
  • Don't share personal household items. You can assign your own set of items including bedding, towels, cups and glasses, and eating utensils.
  • Clean and disinfect your home every day. Use household cleaners and disinfectant wipes or sprays. Take special care to clean things that you grab with your hands. These include doorknobs, remote controls, phones, and handles on your refrigerator and microwave. And don't forget countertops, tabletops, bathrooms, and computer keyboards.
  • Avoid contact with pets and other animals. If possible, have a friend or family member care for them while you're sick.

Be sure to follow all instructions from your local health authorities. These may include stay-at-home orders, guidelines for social distancing and face covers, and information about access to health care, COVID-19 testing, and other essential services.

Symptoms to watch for during home treatment

If you develop a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, or your symptoms become worse, answer the symptom checker questions again or call your doctor. You may need care.

Prevention

To protect yourself and others:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after you cough or sneeze. Use soap and water, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily. These include doorknobs, light switches, toilets, and sinks.
  • Avoid contact with people who may be infected.
  • Avoid crowds and public areas, and try to stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from other people. If you go out, wash your hands as soon as you return home.
  • If you go out in public, wear a cloth face cover over your mouth and nose. This is especially important in places like the grocery store or pharmacy, where it can be hard to keep your distance from others.
  • Limit visitors. Having fewer people in your home means less chance of being exposed to the virus.
  • Don't travel if you don't have to, and avoid public transportation if you can.
  • Limit shopping to essentials, like food and medicines.
  • Don't eat in restaurants. (You can still get takeout or food deliveries.)

Be sure to follow all instructions from your local health authorities. These may include stay-at-home orders, guidelines for social distancing and face covers, and information about access to health care, COVID-19 testing, and other essential services.

Preparing For Your Appointment

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 during the outbreak, follow this advice:

  • Stay home. Avoid contact with others.
  • Call your doctor's office, urgent care, or telehealth line. They will tell you if you need to come in for medical care or a test.
  • If you need to leave home to get care, wear a cloth face cover over your mouth and nose to prevent exposing other people to the virus.

Why do you need to call first?

If you leave home for care you don't need, you're putting other people at risk, including health care workers and other patients.

And if you DO need care, you need to let the doctor's office, clinic, or hospital know that you're coming. They may want you to use a special entrance or go to a special area. They'll probably remind you to wear a cloth face cover.

You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What are your main symptoms?
    • Do you have a fever?
    • Do you have a cough?
    • Do you have any trouble breathing?
    • Do you have other symptoms you are concerned about?
  • Have you been in contact with anyone who has symptoms of or has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • What home treatment methods have you tried?
  • What nonprescription medicines have you used?
  • Do you have any high-risk health problems?

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: June 18, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine

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