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Do you have symptoms?

The CDC's self-checker can help determine your COVID-19 risk.

Go To Symptom Checker
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What to do if you're sick

If you're sick and think you might have COVID-19 symptoms, follow the steps below depending on your situation. Learn when and how to quarantine and isolate, how to get tested, and what to expect from treatment if you need medical care.

COVID-19 Symptoms

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms.

What to do if you have symptoms or were exposed to COVID-19

1. Stay Home

An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting two days before the person has any symptoms or tests positive.

Whether or not you have symptoms, if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or tested positive, it is important to quarantine or isolate in order to keep from spreading the virus to others.

Quarantine and Isolation


If you have been exposed to the virus and don’t know if you’ve been infected, the CDC recommends staying apart from others for at least 5 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. If you do not develop symptoms, get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact. If you do develop symptoms, get tested immediately and isolate until you receive your test results.

If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if:

  • You are ages 18 or older and have received your COVID-19 vaccine series but have not received a COVID-19 booster shot.
  • You received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago and have not received a COVID-19 booster shot.
  • You are not vaccinated or have not completed a primary vaccine series.

The CDC guidelines say to stay home and away from other people for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home, if possible.

Learn more.


Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the date of the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons).

How to isolate:

  • Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately.
  • Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible.
  • Use a separate bathroom, if possible.
  • Take steps to improve ventilation at home, if possible.
  • Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
  • Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils.
  • Wear a well-fitting mask when you need to be around other people.

2. Call your Provider

Call your provider if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or possible exposure. Medical staff can help to make decisions about whether, when, and where you should be evaluated. This will avoid spreading the virus further to people in waiting rooms and other areas at these locations.

In a medical emergency, it is still important to call 9-1-1 and go to the emergency room.

3. Get Tested

If you have symptoms or exposure to COVID-19, you should get tested. Learn how and where to get tested.

When should you seek emergency medical attention?

According to the CDC, if you have any of these emergency warning signs* for COVID-19 you should get medical attention immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.


Most patients who test positive will not require hospitalization and can recover at home.  

Patients who do need inpatient care will receive care in isolation once admitted to a hospital. Multiple areas within Baystate Health are safely housing COVID-19 patients, providing appropriate isolation to help prevent spread of the virus.

There are also outpatient treatment options. Current treatment options, based on clinical studies and Emergency Authorization Use or Expanded Access approvals from the FDA, include both IV and oral treatment options:

1. Monoclonal Antibodies: Bebtelovimab, the only currently available monoclonal active against the omicron variant—must be given within 7 days of symptom onset.

2. Paxlovid: An oral antiviral that has excellent efficacy and safety data—must be given within 5 days of symptom onset. Learn more.

3. Remdesivir: An IV therapy, originally authorized to treat hospitalized patients with COVID pneumonia, is now used off-label for treating outpatients within 7 days of symptom onset—requires IV infusion over 3 consecutive days. Learn more.

4. Molnupiravir: An oral antiviral that has marginal efficacy data and safety concerns regarding reproductive toxicity—must be given within 5 days of symptom onset. Learn more.

Other actions you can take:

Learn home remedies for upper respiratory symptoms

  • Take pain and fever medications.
  • (Caution: do not give aspirin to children and be aware of allergies to medicines)

    For adults: Ibuprofen 600mg every 6 hours / Not to exceed 3200mg/24 hours Take with food if possible
    Acetaminophen 1000mg every 4 hours/ Not to exceed 4000mg/24 hours

    For children: Ask your provider for dosing.

  • Get plenty of rest.

  • Use a clean humidifier, cool mist vaporizer, or saline nose drops to relieve a stuffy nose.

  • Take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough.

  • Drink plenty of liquids.

  • Stay home and rest.

If you're concerned about your symptoms, contact your healthcare provider.

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Prevent the spread of your illness

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Stay home and rest.
  • Separate yourself from other people
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Monitor your symptoms

Learn more about protecting yourself and others.

Learn what to do when someone in your house is sick

The CDC recommends the following actions if someone in your house is sick:

  • Keep separate bedroom and bathroom for sick person (if possible)
  • If shared bathroom: Clean and disinfect after each use by the sick person. If this is not possible, the caregiver should wait as long as possible before cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Stay separated for meals: The sick person should eat (or be fed) in their room if possible.
  • Wash dishes and utensils using gloves and hot water: Handle any non-disposable used food service items with gloves and wash with hot water or in a dishwasher.
  • Clean hands after handling used food service items.
  • Use a dedicated, lined trashcan: If possible, dedicate a lined trash can for the sick person. Use gloves when removing garbage bags, and handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands afterwards.

Learn more on the CDC website.