With COVID-19 cases on the rise amid continued spread of the concerning delta variant, quick identification of symptoms, testing and isolation can limit further exposures and reduce transmission.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of COVID-19 can range in severity and may include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Symptoms typically appear about two to 14 days following initial exposure, and people exhibiting these symptoms should seek a COVID-19 test, the CDC advises. The agency also recommends seeking immediate medical attention upon symptoms such as:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
People with underlying medical conditions face a greater risk for a more severe course of COVID-19 disease following infection. Conditions include older age, obesity, cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung diseases (asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, high blood pressure in the lungs), dementia, either type of diabetes, heart conditions, HIV infection, immunocompromised individuals, and people facing long-standing health inequities. For the full list, click here.
Many cases can occur without any symptoms at all, or so-called asymptomatic infection. While these cases are more likely to go undetected and further propagate viral spread, the CDC advises seeking testing upon suspected close contact with an infected individual.
“CDC recommends that anyone with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 get tested, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection. If you get tested because you have symptoms or were potentially exposed to the virus, you should stay away from others pending test results and follow the advice of your health care provider or a public health professional,” the agency states on its webpage.