December 8, 2020 By Off

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Symptoms and treatment

On this page

COVID-19 symptoms

Symptoms of COVID-19 can vary from person to person. They may also vary in different age groups.

Some of the more commonly reported symptoms include:

  • new or worsening cough
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • temperature equal to or over 38°C
  • feeling feverish
  • chills
  • fatigue or weakness
  • muscle or body aches
  • new loss of smell or taste
  • headache
  • gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting)
  • feeling very unwell

Children tend to have abdominal symptoms and skin changes or rashes.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19.

You can infect others even if you aren’t showing symptoms

The virus can be spread to others from someone who’s infected but not showing symptoms. This includes people who:

  • haven’t yet developed symptoms (pre-symptomatic)
  • never develop symptoms (asymptomatic)

This kind of spread is known to happen among those who are in close contact or are in enclosed or crowded settings.

Think you may have been exposed to COVID-19? Follow the advice on how to quarantine at home when you may have been exposed but have no symptoms.

If you’re travelling with or without symptoms, be aware of what’s expected of you when entering Canada.

If you’re sick or caring for someone who’s sick

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19:

Most people with mild symptoms will recover on their own.

Adults and children who have mild COVID-19 symptoms are able to stay at home with a caregiver throughout their recovery without needing hospitalization. If you’re a caregiver, follow the advice on how to care for someone with COVID-19 at home.

Getting tested

The only way to confirm you have COVID-19 is through a laboratory test.

Take a self-assessment to find out if you should be tested.

If you’re waiting for a test result, isolate at home, whether you have symptoms or not.

If you’ve tested positive

If you’ve received a positive test result for COVID-19, you must isolate at home, whether you have symptoms or not. Remain isolated for up to 14 days or as directed by your local public health authority.

If you didn’t have symptoms when you got tested but develop them during your isolation period, you must restart your isolation time as directed by the local public health authority.


Consider downloading and using the COVID Alert app. It can let people know of possible exposures before any symptoms appear.

If the app notifies you about potential exposure, you should follow the guidance from your local public health authority.

You can help slow the spread of infection and prevent future outbreaks.

Treating COVID-19

If you’re concerned about your symptoms, self-monitor for any changes and consult your health care provider. They may recommend steps you can take to relieve your symptoms.

People who are hospitalized with COVID-19 and need breathing assistance may be treated with dexamethasone.

We’ve authorized certain products to treat COVID-19 and its symptoms.

Certain medications can also help to ease symptoms like fever and cough.

Learn more about treatments being developed for COVID-19.