Symptoms Have symptoms? Did you know there are treatments for COVID-19? Research shows they work by lowering your risk of going to the hospital and dying—but you have to get them in time. Don’t wait: Find a test to treat location to get treatment started ASAP Talk to your doctor about treatment Or call 1-888-675-4567. The NC COVID-19 Helpdesk can help if you do not have a health care provider. Version en Español Find Tests Find Treatment Know the Symptoms COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that feel like a cold or flu, but it can also harm other parts of the body. Most people who catch COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill. While COVID-19 is an illness most persons recover from, it can cause symptoms that last for four or more weeks after it started. Even people who had a mild case of COVID-19 may struggle with long-term effects like shortness of breath, chest pain, and brain fog. CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker CDC Autoverificador de Coronavirus The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure: Fever or chills Cough Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Fatigue Muscle or body aches Headache New loss of taste or smell Sore throat Congestion or runny nose Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update information about symptoms as more is learned about COVID-19. When to limit contact with others Steps to Take for Serious Symptoms Seek emergency medical care immediately if you have any of these signs: Trouble breathing Persistent pain or pressure in the chest New confusion Inability to wake or stay awake Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone. In the event of an emergency, call 911. Frequently Asked Questions I had contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do? If you have had close contact with someone while they were symptomatic, you should be tested. Learn more about testing. If you do not have health insurance, call your nearest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). Review the CDC’s actions to take based on your level of exposure. Can COVID-19 be spread before someone has symptoms? People are most contagious when they have symptoms. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from two days before they have any symptoms, or, for people without symptoms, two days before they were tested. More on how COVID-19 spreads is available from the CDC. I’m up-to-date on my COVID-19 vaccinations. Can I still get COVID-19? The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. However, even when a vaccine is highly effective, a small percentage of people who are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. For such people, the vaccine still provides them strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization and death. People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected after they have received two doses of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) or one dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. The CDC recommends that if you are immunocompromised and received two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines that you get an additional dose for better protection from COVID-19. Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity after vaccination compared to people who are not immunocompromised. Even if you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccinations, you need to layer up protection to fight more contagious variants and weather the storm: Vax up, mask up and urge others to do the same. Watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms, you should get tested and stay home and away from others. If you are up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccinations and become infected with COVID-19, you can spread the virus to others, so isolate at home if your test is positive. What's the difference between self-monitor, quarantine and isolation? These are protective measures used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among people who may have been exposed. Self-monitoring is for those that may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. They should monitor themselves for symptoms (fever, cough and shortness of breath). People should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they develop symptoms during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek medical advice by telephone. Quarantine is for people who were exposed to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 but are not experiencing symptoms. Contact your local health department or medical provider if you are unsure if you should self-quarantine. Isolation is the term used to describe how people who are sick separate from those who are well. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 should be in isolation. See below for when to end isolation. Learn about the difference between quarantine and isolation from the CDC and view a helpful guide from DHHS in English and Spanish. How can I limit exposure to COVID-19? Household members and people who have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms. Close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps to prevent spreading it. Coronaviruses like COVID-19 are most often spread through the air by coughing or sneezing, through close personal contact (including touching and shaking hands) or through touching your nose, mouth or eyes before washing your hands. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has actions you can take to prevent others from getting sick. This includes: Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people. Use a cloth covering that covers your mouth and nose when leaving the house, especially when you may not be able to keep 6 feet between yourself and other people. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. When can I end self-isolation? Follow CDC guidance on quarantine and isolation if: You are sick with COVID-19. You believe you might have COVID-19. You are experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19. You have been exposed to COVID-19, unless you are up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccinations, or if you are up-to-date on your vaccination schedule but are now showing symptoms of the virus. How is it decided when a person with COVID-19 can self-isolate at home or must be confined somewhere? Local health departments will work in partnership with physicians and the NC Division of Public Health to determine the best next steps for a person with COVID-19. The decision may be based on multiple factors including severity of illness, need for testing and suitability of home isolation.