What are the symptoms?

The following is a list of the main symptoms that may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:

  • High temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • New, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111 or go to the NHS 111 coronavirus advice website. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.

Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)

UPDATED: 2 February 2021

If your symptoms are mild, NHS 111 will usually advise you and anyone you live with not to leave your home. This is called self-isolation.

  • If you have symptoms, however mild, OR you have had a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result you should immediately self-isolate at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You should arrange to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. See also the Government’s COVID-19 getting tested page. If you have a positive test result, you will receive a request by text, email or phone to log into the NHS Test and Trace service website and provide information about recent close contacts
  • Consider alerting people who you do not live with and have had close contact within the last 48 hours to let them know you have symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19
  • Anyone who lives in your household but does not have symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your home started having symptoms. If anyone else in your household starts displaying symptoms, they must stay at home for at least 10 days from when their symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in their original 14-day isolation period
  • If you still have a high temperature after 10 days or longer you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better.
  • You do not need to self-isolate after 10 days if you only have a cough or loss of sense of smell or taste, as these symptoms can last for several weeks after the infection has gone
  • If you have symptoms, you should stay as far away from other members of your household as possible. It is especially important to stay away from anyone who is clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable with whom you share a household
  • Reduce the spread of infection in your home by washing your hands regularly for 20 seconds using soap and water, or use hand sanitiser, and cover coughs and sneezes
  • If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 10 days, then use the NHS 111 online service
  • If you develop new COVID-19 symptoms at any point after ending your first period of isolation then you must follow the same guidance on self-isolation again.
Read more about self-isolation if you have symptoms of coronavirus.
Read the Government stay at home guidance for further information and information about ending self- or household-isolation.