Skip to content

7 Signs You Have COVID Now, According to the Surgeon General

Be watchful for these common symptoms of coronavirus.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
Sick woman coughing, experiencing hiccup.

On Friday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said there is "light at the end of the tunnel" of the COVID-19 pandemic as the coronavirus vaccine begins to roll out. "The last couple of miles of this race are going to be hard, but we've got to keep running, and that means wearing a mask and washing our hands, watching our distance and keeping these holiday gatherings as small as possible," he said. Another part of that effort is being alert to potential COVID symptoms, and staying home and self-isolating if you might be infected. Here are seven signs you might have COVID-19, according to the surgeon general's COVID-19 screening tool. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

1

Fever or Chills

Shutterstock

According to the CDC, fever or chills are common symptoms of COVID-19. Fever is caused by the body raising its internal temperature to kill off an infection; chills may be an attempt to regulate that internal temperature. According to the USC School of Medicine, chills can also happen without a fever as your body fights off an illness.

2

Mild or Moderate Difficulty Breathing

Woman suffering an anxiety attack alone in the night
iStock

Shortness of breath is a common symptom of COVID-19; the virus causes lung inflammation and damage that can make it hard to catch your breath. Call your doctor for advice. If you have serious trouble breathing, it could be a sign of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), and you should seek immediate medical attention. 

3

New or Worsening Cough

Shutterstock

A persistent cough with fever is the most common sign of coronavirus. It's dry, persistent and can cause shortness of breath.

4

Sudden Loss of Taste or Smell

According to one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 64% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 reported a loss of smell or taste.

5

Sore Throat

Woman experiencing first Covid-19 symptoms throat pain breathing problems on sofa
Shutterstock

This is a common symptom of COVID-19, the CDC says. A European study of 1,420 coronavirus patients found that 53% of them reported having a sore throat.

6

Vomiting or Diarrhea

African-american man suffering from stomach ache, lying on sofa at home
Shutterstock

COVID often causes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. For some people, it may be the only coronavirus symptom they have. A recent review of studies found that one in five people diagnosed with COVID reported stomach-related symptoms of some kind.

7

Unexplained Fatigue or Body Aches

female touching neck and shoulder in pain.
Shutterstock

The surgeon general's site lists "unexplained, significant fatigue or aching throughout the body" as a potential symptom. Muscles can become inflamed during any illness. COVID-19 causes inflammation throughout the body, and muscle pain has been frequently reported. It might linger for weeks after your infection has cleared. 

8

How to Survive This Pandemic

Women wearing a pollution mask to protect himself from viruses.
iStock

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.