What are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

September 9, 2020

The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that can be easily spread from person to person. Currently, COVID-19 can be difficult to identify because it shares many symptoms with the flu. Here is what you need to know.

What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (please note that this list does not include all possible symptoms):

  • 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

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, the CDC encourages you to get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. The CDC urges you to consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

How are these symptoms different from symptoms of the flu, common cold, or allergies?

Cold and allergy symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing

The flu and coronavirus share some similar symptoms that tend to affect the whole body, including:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Coughing
  • Worsening symptoms

COVID-19 includes some differentiating symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Additionally, COVID-19 symptoms can be linked to a recent history of travel or proximity to high-risk areas and other possible exposures.

How should I take preventative measures?

If you are immuno-compromised, are an older adult, or if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, you should take extra preventative measures to protect yourself, according to the CDC. Stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed. Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial means. Also consider stocking up on supplies.

When do I need to call my doctor?

You should call your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms. If you are mildly ill with COVID-19 symptoms or confirmed COVID-19, the CDC recommends that you stay at home during your illness to help prevent spreading the disease to other people.

When should I get tested for COVID-19?

If you have symptoms of a possible COVID-19 infection, ask your healthcare provider or hospital how to get tested. It is best to first ask your doctor about testing before going.

“They will decide whether you need to be tested, but keep in mind that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and people who are mildly ill may be able to isolate and care for themselves at home,” the CDC says.

How is Dana-Farber keeping people safe during COVID-19?

Dana-Farber has implemented a number of new protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of our patients, their family members, and staff. Measures include:

  • COVID-19 screenings: Prior to each visit, patients and visitors are screened first over the phone and then once again when they arrive. In addition, all Dana-Farber staff are screened daily.
  • Universal mask policy: All patients, visitors and employees are provided a surgical mask when they arrive at Dana-Faber. These masks must be worn throughout their entire time at the Institute.
  • Physical distancing: Everything from infusion chairs to tables in the Lavine Family Dining Pavilion in the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care have been rearranged in order to comply with physical distancing recommendations.
  • Appropriate PPE: All staff have been outfitted with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Limiting foot traffic: Dana-Farber is restricting all incoming business or community visitors. Appointments are being staggered to limit the number of people in each building, ensuring that elevators, waiting rooms and all clinical and non-clinical areas are not over-crowded.
  • Additional cleaning: Environmental Services are working around-the-clock to reach every inch of the Institute. Exam rooms are cleaned and wiped down after each use, and “high-touch” areas including handrails and elevator buttons are cleaned and disinfected regularly.

Learn more about what Dana-Farber is doing to keep patients and staff safe during COVID-19.