COVID-19 Symptoms

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COVID-19 Symptoms

All Pennsylvanians should learn the symptoms of COVID-19 and how it spreads. We know a lot about COVID-19. It is extremely contagious, spreading through the natural moisture (respiratory droplets) we breathe out when we talk, cough, or sneeze. 


  • Fever. If you have a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, stay home.
  • Chills. Including repeated shaking with chills.
  • Muscle pain or body aches.
  • Headache or confusion.
  • Difficulty staying awake or waking up.
  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. May have bluish lips or face.
  • Congestion or runny nose.
  • Sore throat.
  • New loss of taste or smell.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Use the Coronavirus Self-Checker online tool to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, free, and the most effective way to prevent severe symptoms. Learn more on our COVID-19 Vaccines & Boosters webpage.

Incubation Period

COVID-19 symptoms can take days to appear, usually between two to 10 days after exposure to the virus.

Not everyone who has COVID-19 will have bad symptoms. Some may only have mild symptoms or show no signs of being sick. If you think you might have COVID-19, stay home (or go home) and contact your healthcare provider immediately.


COVID-19 is caused by a virus. Viruses can mutate and create new variants of the original virus strain. When people talk about Delta and Omicron, they are referring to two common virus variants. Some variants may cause more severe illness and/or spread more easily from one person to another. Learn more about variants on the CDC website.

No matter the strain of the virus, your best defense against COVID-19 is staying up-to-date on your vaccinations and taking simple steps to protect yourself and others. Wear a mask, avoid others who are sick, clean surfaces, and limit touching your face.

High-Risk Factors

Adults 65 years or older, and anyone with serious medical conditions are at higher risk for getting severely sick from COVID-19.

Getting the Right Medical Care

If you test positive for COVID-19, getting the right medical care  is the first step. Visit our Care & Treatment of COVID-19 webpage to learn more. Your doctor can answer any questions about treatment options. If you need to find a healthcare provider, call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).

Staying Home

If you’re exposed to COVID-19 or test positive, follow the latest CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidance. To know your testing options, visit our COVID-19 Testing webpage.

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