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Coronavirus public health advice

Symptoms of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It's caused by a virus called coronavirus.

The main symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

What can I do to reduce my risk of catching coronavirus?

  • Always carry tissues and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
  • Avoid shaking hands/kissing when greeting people

Find out more on the NHS's website