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Guidance if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or a positive test result for COVID-19

Guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19

The Government has published important advice for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection including COVID-19, people with a positive COVID-19 test result and their contacts.

People with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and who have a high temperature or do not feel well, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with others. Most people with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections will have a relatively mild illness, especially if they have been vaccinated.

Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:

  • continuous cough
  • high temperature, fever or chills
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick

Advice for people who are unwell with symptoms (and have not taken a COVID-19 test)

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, and you have a high temperature or do not feel well enough to go to work or carry out normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until you no longer have a high temperature (if you had one) or until you no longer feel unwell.

  • avoid close contact with anyone who you know is at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell if they are infected with COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, including older people, those who are pregnant, those who are unvaccinated
  • try to work from home if you can
  • if you have any in person medical or dental appointments, let them know about your symptoms
  • children who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home, avoid contact with others. They can return to school and resume normal activities when they no longer have a high temperature and they are well enough to attend.
  • children with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, can continue to attend their education setting

Advice for people who have received a positive COVID-19 test result

Try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

If you have a positive COVID-19 test result, it is likley that you have COVID-19 and can pass it on to others, even if you do not have symptoms. Many people with COVID-19 will no longer be infectious to others after 5 days.

  • try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days after the day you took your test
  • try to work from home if you can
  • if you have any in person medical or dental appointments, let them know about your positive test
  • advise anyone that needs to come into your home that you have a positive COVID-19 test result, so they can take precautions to protect themselves
  • if you need support, ask family, friends or neighbours to get food and other essentials for you
  • some people maybe still infectious for upto 10 days, so you should avoid meeting people at higher risk of becoming seriously unwell from COVID-19, for 10 days after the day you took your test.
  • children should try to stay home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test. After 3 days, if they feel well and do not have a temperature they can reutrn to school and normal activities.

If you need to leave your home during the 5 days after your positive test or when you have symptoms (and havent taken a COVID-19 test)

The following actions will reduce the chance of passing on your infection to others if you need to leave your home:

  • avoid close contact with anyone you know is higher risk of becoming seriously unwell
  • wear a well-fitting face covering or a face mask
  • avoiding crowded or enclosed spaces such as public transport, large social gatherings and enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces
  • exercising outdoors and away from others
  • covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; washing your hands properly and frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose and before you eat or handle food; avoid touching your face

Reduce the spread of infection in your household if you have symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19

While you are unwell and/or infectious there is a high risk of passing your infection to others in your household, so try to:

  • keep your distance from people you live with
  • in shared areas wear a well-fitting face covering or face mask, especially if you live with people whose immune system means that they are at higher risk of serious illness, despite vaccination
  • ventilate rooms you have been in by opening windows and leaving them open for at least 10 minutes after you have left the room
  • wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • regularly clean frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles and remote controls, and shared areas such as kitchens and bathrooms
  • advise anyone that does need to come into your home that you have symptoms and/or a positive test result, so they can take precautions to protect themselves such as wearing a well-fitting face covering or face mask, keeping their distance if they can, and washing their hands regularly

Contact Public Health