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. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Fever (see below)
- Cough or worsening of chronic cough
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches
While less common, symptoms can also include:
- Stuffy nose
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Dizziness, confusion
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rashes or discoloration of fingers or toes.
Fever: Average normal body temperature taken orally is about 37°C. For more on normal body temperature and fevers, see HealthLinkBC's information for children age 11 and younger and for people age 12 and older. Infants less than three months of age who have a fever should be assessed by a health care provider.
Children have similar symptoms to adults, but are less likely to have fever, shortness of breath or cough. COVID-19 causes mild illness in the majority of cases in children.
COVID-19 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.
Testing is recommended for anyone with cold, influenza or COVID-19-like symptoms, even mild ones. For more information on testing and where to go for testing, visit the Testing page.
The B.C. COVID-19 Self-Assessment Tool is also 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.
Some symptoms can also be signs of other conditions. If you are unsure, contact your health care provider or call 8-1-1. If someone 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 develop symptoms, you will need to self-isolate while you wait for your test results so you do not potentially spread illness to others. Those who get diagnosed with COVID-19 will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started. 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 the 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.