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COVID-19: Symptoms of Illness

People with COVID-19 can experience a range of symptoms.

Most people have mild symptoms and are able to recover at home.

Some may have severe symptoms that lead to hospitalization or death.

Woman Coughing Wearing Mask YSTS


You may have COVID-19 if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Cough (new onset or worsening of chronic cough)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever or chills
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell

Not everyone with COVID-19 has these symptoms. For many, symptoms are mild, with no fever. Some people may also experience fatigue or gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain. You can still spread the virus to others even if you have mild or no symptoms.

Know emergency warning signs of COVID-19

Get medical attention immediately if you experience any of these warning signs*:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to be woken up
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please talk with your doctor or health care provider about any other symptoms that are severe or concerning. If you need emergency medical attention, call 911 and tell them you are having COVID-19-like symptoms.

More information can be found at: CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) COVID-19 Symptoms webpage.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Stay home, separate yourself from others. and get tested, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. Contact your health care provider or a Test to Treat site and learn if available COVID-19 treatments are right for you. These treatments require a prescription. Ask a health clinic if you can be evaluated for COVID-19 treatment, or use DHS’ COVID-19 Treatment Telehealth service for fast free assessment.

Symptoms lasting more than four weeks

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 more than four weeks after being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, you may be experiencing a post-COVID condition. Visit our page on post-COVID conditions to learn more.

Resources on COVID-19 symptoms

Access materials and resources on symptoms of COVID-19.

Get tested

If you have symptoms, it is time to get tested. Not sure how to get tested? We can help.

211 Wisconsin

Call 211 or 877-947-2211 to get referrals for thousands of services across Wisconsin. For COVID-19 questions, text COVID to 211-211. Language assistance is available.

Resilient Wisconsin

Get help learning how to manage stress and adapt to change with services and support from organizations across the state.

Helpful resources

Find help with housing, income, food, employment, health care, mental health concerns, safety at home, and more—in multiple languages.
Last revised March 3, 2023