Skip to content

How Long Do COVID Symptoms Last?

“We expect that someone with mild symptoms will recover within a week to 10 days."
woman with mask in hospital

Fever, cough, muscle aches, fatigue, shortness of breath? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of COVID-19 are awful, and you may be wondering, how long do COVID symptoms last? 

The length of time you have to deal with coronavirus symptoms depends on whether you're experiencing a mild, moderate, or severe case of the virus. If you have a mild case, your body can fight the virus off faster. However, with a severe case, it takes your body longer to recover, so your symptoms are bound to linger for a while.

How Long Do COVID Symptoms Last?

The good news is that about 80% of those infected with coronavirus will only experience mild symptoms or will be completely asymptomatic, according to an analysis of patients conducted by the Chinese CDC. The bad news is these mild symptoms may still include fever and cough, which are persistent and may feel similar to the flu.

If you're one of the lucky ones who's experiencing a mild case of COVID-19, you don't have far to go. "We expect that someone with mild symptoms will recover within a week to 10 days," states Dr. Joshua Septimus, MD, FACP, from Houston Methodist Primary Care Group Same Day Clinics.

If your case of COVID-19 landed you in the hospital for a few days but things didn't get too hairy, you're more than likely experiencing a mild case. Dr. Septimus warns that you can expect to deal with some of the effects of coronavirus for a prolonged period of time with a mild case. If you're currently dealing with a cough, shortness of breath, or fever and have a mild case of COVID-19, these symptoms may linger for several weeks after your diagnosis.

You Will Need Time to Recover From Severe Cases

An emergency hospital visit that included some time on a ventilator means you're suffering from a severe case of coronavirus. "If you're recovering from a severe case of COVID-19, it can take some time for your strength and pulmonary function to return back to normal," says Dr. Septimus. 

Even after you're off the ventilator, your lungs need time to gather the strength to function on their own. With a severe case of COVID-19, you could feel the effects, such as shortness of breath and immune system responses, for several weeks or months after hospitalization.

Even if your COVID-19 symptoms have dissipated, make sure you're no longer contagious before interacting with anyone. Whether you have a mild, moderate, or severe case, it's important to take care of yourself and give your body all the time it needs to heal. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Kelly Hernandez
Kelly Hernandez is a health and wellness writer and certified personal trainer. Read more