In addition to fever, cough and runny nose, there are many symptoms that may indicate illness with coronavirus. Here you can read about the signs of COVID-19 and what to do if you suspect you have the disease.
COVID-19 is a disease that primarily affects the respiratory tract. The
most common symptoms are similar to those of other respiratory illnesses: Cough, fever, runny nose, malaise and fatigue. Therefore, it is not easy to determine whether you are suffering from COVID-19, flu or cold. However, the first signs of illness should not be taken lightly. In the worst case, the disease caused by the coronavirus can be fatal. However, 80 percent of people who contract the virus experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Research institutes are trying to determine how high the number of unreported cases is who have survived an infection without symptoms, among other things through studies on the spread of antibodies against the coronavirus. You can find an overview of the studies here
. Symptoms occur with a time lag after infection (incubation period). The incubation period averages five to six days, but can last up to 14 days.
What to do if you suddenly develop a cough or fever, or if a colleague you have recently had contact with tests positive for coronavirus, read here:
What symptoms can occur with COVID-19?
The most common signs of the disease include dry cough, runny nose and
Fever over 38°C. The sense of smell and taste is temporarily impaired in many affected individuals. A number of other symptoms are also possible, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and sore throat and headache. Less commonly, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, conjunctivitis, skin rash, lymph node swelling, and drowsiness (somnolence) are reported. In particularly severe cases, those affected develop pneumonia, excessive immune reactions or persistent respiratory distress and have to undergo intensive medical treatment in hospital. However, the symptoms and their severity vary from person to person. There are no "typical" symptoms that clearly identify COVID-19. More information on symptoms and course of COVID-19 disease can be found here
. Certain risk factors can favor a severe course of the disease.
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Do you belong to the risk group?
Basically, all people whose immune system is weakened are at increased risk for a severe course of the disease. As the immune system weakens with age, older age is a risk factor. Certain pre-existing conditions also make it more likely that the coronavirus infection will take a more severe course. These include: chronic respiratory or pulmonary diseases (such as COPD or asthma), heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes mellitus (diabetes), major depression and bipolar disorder. Other factors that can negatively influence the course of the disease can be found here. In order to avoid the risk of severe consequences of COVID-19 disease in the first place, it is even more important that people in the risk group get vaccinated early, because the Corona vaccination prevents a severe course of the disease. If necessary, also take advantage of the offer of a booster vaccination. You can read more about this here.
What do I do if I develop symptoms of COVID-19??
As soon as you notice symptoms that are common with COVID-19, isolate yourself at home. Reduce contacts with other people to the minimum necessary to avoid exposing them to the risk of infection. Anyone who experiences cold symptoms or other symptoms listed above for COVID-19 or has had contact with someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 should contact their primary care provider by phone. Please do not appear directly in person at the practice, but first clarify the further procedure by telephone. This is how you can prevent other people from becoming infected with the virus. Outside the opening hours of the practices, you can also call the medical on-call service under the nationwide standardized telephone number 116 117. You can also report to your local health department. The Robert Koch Institute provides a tool
Ready to identify your local health department by zip code.
When should I get tested?
Whether a free PCR test is carried out or not is decided by doctors or the responsible health authority on the basis of the national testing strategy. In addition, further steps will be discussed during an initial telephone call, for example where a test for the coronavirus should be carried out or whether a test can be carried out at your home if necessary.
Even if you have no symptoms, you can still get tested: With the current adjustment to the testing regulation, free rapid testing will again be made available to all citizens. Regardless of vaccination or recovery status, they are entitled to a free rapid test (PoC test) at least once a week. You can see where you can get tested free of charge here. Important: Rapid antigen tests are less reliable than PCR tests. If your rapid test result is positive, it must be confirmed by a PCR test. In addition, over-the-counter self-tests can provide more safety in everyday life. For more information on rapid antigen tests and the different testing methods, click here.
If you have had close contact with a person infected with the coronavirus?
If you have had contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus, contact your local health department by phone immediately, regardless of symptoms
. After an individual interview, this can recommend personal measures and decide on the further steps required. You should stay at home during this time.
One of the decisive factors for the transmission of the coronavirus is how close the contact with an infected person was. The virus is transmitted by droplets and tiny liquid particles (aerosols) that are emitted by infected persons, for example, when breathing, talking, coughing and sneezing. But other routes of transmission, for example via surfaces on which the virus is present, are also possible. Therefore, contact with body fluids of an infected person is particularly risky. Depending on how close and long the contact was and whether a mouth-nose protection was worn, a distinction is made between different intensities. Close contacts had particularly close contact with an infected person without a mask, for example, for at least 15 minutes and at less than 1.50 meters apart. Particularly strict quarantine measures are required in this category, as the risk of transmission is especially high. If you are a close contact person, you must be quarantined at home for 14 days as soon as possible. Fully vaccinated and recovered persons are not affected by the quarantine regulation. Information on home quarantine for contacts can be found here
and can be obtained from your health department.
Keep a quarantine diary
If you need to be quarantined after contact with an infected person, you will be
urged to keep a quarantine diary. Possible symptoms and body temperature should be recorded there. The Robert Koch Institute recommends that this be measured twice daily. General activities and any contact with other people should also be recorded. If the disease is later detected in you, the contacts noted in the diary can be informed about their risk of infection. The health department will contact you regularly to inquire about your health status.
The criteria for de-isolation may differ for immunocompromised individuals, medical personnel and residents of elderly care facilities. Learn more here
Mild or no symptoms: Cure at home
If the coronavirus has been detected in you but you have no or only mild symptoms, you can cure the infection at home. You should isolate yourself from others during this time. If you live in a household with other people, seclude yourself if possible, for example by staying in a separate room. If possible, take your meals separately from other household members. Have your groceries delivered to your front door and always thoroughly ventilate indoor areas. The responsible health department decides when the isolation can be lifted. However, you should remain isolated at least until ten days have passed since the first symptoms appeared and there has been a sustained improvement in acute symptoms for longer than 48 hours. The Robert Koch Institute provides additional helpful tips
Even those who have not been tested but suspect they have been infected with coronavirus should go into home isolation as soon as possible. However, do not hesitate to seek medical advice if the symptoms of the disease intensify (for example, if you have difficulty breathing or develop a high fever). Call 112 in case of emergency.
Break chains of infection with the AHA+L+A formula
Please note: Even if you have no symptoms, you could be infected and thus infect others. This is why it is so important to limit contacts and follow the AHA+A+L formula: AKeep your distance, Hygiene must be observed, in the Allday mask wear, the Corona warning-App use and regularly Low. Using the Corona Warning app helps reduce the burden on health care providers and track contacts. The more people who use the Corona warning app, the faster chains of infection can be broken. In combination with the observance of AHA+L, the app thus additionally contributes to the containment of the Corona pandemic.