Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 that can appear up to 14 days after being exposed to the virus.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses including the flu and common cold. They include:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat and painful swallowing
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Loss of sense of smell
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Sometimes people with COVID-19 have mild illness, but their symptoms may suddenly worsen in a few days. People infected with COVID-19 may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting a few days after the onset of the above symptoms. It you only have gastrointestinal symptoms you may not have COVID-19.
The BC COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool is available for anyone that develops symptoms and can be used to help determine if you need further assessment or testing for COVID-19. Testing is especially important for groups that are more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19, or people who care for these individuals. For more information on whether you should be tested, visit our Testing page.
If you develop symptoms, you will need to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days so you do not potentially spread the disease to others. Self-monitor for new symptoms during this period.
For more information on what to do if you have COVID-19, if you think you may have it, or believe you may require medical care, visit our If you are Sick page.
Older people and people with a weakened immune system or underlying medical conditions are considered at higher risk of severe disease. For more, see information for Priority populations.
There have been instances of transmissions before the person became sick or the symptoms were so mild that the person did not know they were sick. However, it is unclear if this contributes to significant spread of the virus in the population. Most people become ill from being in close contact with someone who shows symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, therefore transmitting the virus through droplets. We continuously review the evidence and update information regularly.