COVID-19 symptoms usually start 4 or 5 days after a person is infected with the virus. In some people, symptoms can take as long as 2 weeks to appear. Some people never show symptoms at all.
When symptoms do happen, they can include:
- Fever and chills
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
- Problems with sense of smell or taste
- Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea or diarrhea
For most people, symptoms will get better within a few weeks. But a small number of people get very sick and stop being able to breathe on their own. In severe cases, their organs stop working, which can lead to death.
Some people with COVID-19 continue to have some symptoms for weeks or months. This seems to be more likely in people who are sick enough to need to stay in the hospital. But this can also happen in people who did not get very sick. Doctors
are still learning about the long-term effects of COVID-19.
While children can get COVID-19, they are less likely than adults to have severe symptoms.