The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. Symptoms may include a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath. It can spread through droplets from coughing and sneezing, breathing, and singing. The virus also can spread when people are in close contact with someone who is infected.
It's important to not spread the virus to others. If you have COVID-19, wear a high-quality mask anytime you are around other people. Isolate yourself. Improve airflow. Leave your home only if you need to get medical care or testing.
A mild case of COVID-19 can usually be treated at home. Over-the-counter medicine like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) can help relieve your symptoms.
But even if your symptoms are mild, talk to your doctor right away. Medicines, such as antivirals, can help reduce the risk of serious illness. But you need to take them within a few days after symptoms start. There may be other options if antivirals aren't a good choice for you.
If you do get very sick, you will need to be treated in the hospital. Treatment may include breathing support, such as oxygen therapy or a ventilator. Some people may be placed on their belly to help their oxygen levels. Medicines may be given. For example, you may get a blood thinner to help prevent blood clots.
The COVID-19 vaccine can help you avoid getting COVID-19.
The number of doses you need depends on which vaccine you get. It also depends on your age and health. Most people also need "booster" doses later to help them stay protected. You are considered to be up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines when you've received all the recommended doses and booster doses.
The vaccine prevents many cases of COVID-19. But if you do still catch COVID-19, your symptoms will probably be less severe than if you hadn't gotten the vaccine. You can't get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
COVID-19 symptoms may include:
In severe cases, COVID-19 can cause pneumonia and make it hard to breathe without help from a machine. It can cause death.
COVID-19 is diagnosed with a viral test. This may also be called a PCR test or antigen test. It looks for evidence of the virus in your breathing passages or lungs (respiratory system).
The test is most often done on a sample from the nose, throat, or lungs. It's sometimes done on a sample of saliva. One way a sample is collected is by putting a long swab into the back of your nose.
If you have questions about COVID-19 testing, ask your doctor or go to cdc.gov to use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool.
If you've been exposed to the virus, it's important to get tested and to avoid spreading the virus.
If you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 AND you don't have symptoms, you don't need to stay in the place where you live or separate yourself from others.
Stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. Avoid sick people, and stay away from others if you're sick. Avoid crowds, especially indoors. Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you've been exposed, wear a mask. You may need to stay home, away from others. Wash your hands often.
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It will help protect you from the virus. If you do get COVID-19, you're less likely to get seriously ill. And it also helps you protect the people around you.
Everyone who is able to get the vaccine should get it as soon as possible. The more people who get vaccinated, the better we'll be able to slow the spread of the virus.
The vaccine is extra important for people who are at high risk. This includes people who may be exposed to COVID-19 more often because of their jobs. It also includes people who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19 if they catch it. Some examples of people at high risk include those who:
If you've already had COVID-19, you may still be able to catch it again. Getting the vaccine gives you extra protection.
You might not have any side effects. But if you do, they'll probably be like side effects from other vaccines. Those can include a fever, soreness, and feeling very tired. You may also have other side effects, including chills, headache, arm pain, or a rash. This is normal. Your body is building protection against COVID-19.
Serious problems from the vaccine are very rare. A serious allergic reaction may happen in extremely rare cases, but it can be treated. And the risks of problems from COVID-19 are much higher than the risks of problems from the vaccine. Remember, even if you're young and healthy, COVID-19 can make you very sick.
The vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and effective. In fact, the risk of serious problems from getting COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of serious problems from the vaccine. The vaccine has gone through many studies to make sure that it's safe. And you can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine.