COVID-19 Symptoms

What Are Some of the First Symptoms of COVID-19?

Woman sitting on a sofa wrapped in a blanket experiencing fever and chills

Researchers continue to study COVID-19, the brand-new coronavirus that began to strike in earnest after it first appeared in late 2019. It is particularly important for scientists to nail down the symptoms and make that information widely available to the general public. Why? If more people are able to spot the early signs of COVID-19, they can begin self-isolating sooner, when they are most contagious. Experts agree that is one of the most effective ways to minimize the spread of COVID-19, a highly infectious and dangerous virus, the long-term effects of which are still largely unknown.

Signs to Watch For

Based on what researchers have learned about COVID-19 thus far, the first symptoms—which generally occur within seven days after infection—can include the following, which are listed in order of their usual appearance:

  • Fever or chills
  • A persistent cough
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Usually, COVID-19 symptoms are initially mild, then become more intense over the course of about seven days. With that said, it is important to understand that COVID-19 often does not produce noticeable symptoms. When it does, however, those are classic signs that should not be ignored. Additionally, some people experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • A new loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion or a runny nose

What to Do

If you think you might have COVID-19 and your symptoms are relatively mild, your best course of action is to stay home and separate yourself as much as possible from others in your household, including pets. Be sure to inform anyone you recently had close contact with that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should quarantine for 14 days. The virus can spread up to 48 hours before symptoms first appear, and after exposure, symptoms can take up to 14 days to develop.

As you recover from your illness, try to get plenty of rest and stay well hydrated. If you would like further advice, contact a healthcare provider. Consider booking a Virtual Visit so you can receive professional medical advice from the safety and comfort of your home. You may also want to inquire about COVID-19 testing. If you experience life-threatening symptoms, such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, call 911 or go directly to the nearest hospital ER.

In general, you can expect to feel better in about a week. At that time, it may be safe for you to be around others if it has been at least 10 days since your COVID-19 symptoms first appeared, you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication), and your other symptoms are improving.

We’re Here to Help

PhysicianOne Urgent Care offers a full slate of non-emergency urgent care services, including Virtual Visits and COVID-19 testing, at all of our locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Find your nearest location here.

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