COVID-19 Exposure AND You Have NO Symptoms

Self Care Decisions / COVID-19 Exposure AND You Have NO Symptoms

Exposure and NO Symptoms – Overview

  • Although you may have been or were exposed to COVID-19, you do not currently have any symptoms of that infection. COVID-19 symptoms start within 14 days after the last exposure. 
  • Since it’s been less than 14 days, the exposed person still at risk for getting sick with COVID-19.
  • You need to watch for symptoms until 14 days have passed.
  • Stay at home and follow this medical advice.

You Do Not Need to See Your Doctor

  • The exposed person does not have any symptoms. Exposed people don’t need to see a doctor.
  • If you become sick and develop more than mild symptoms, you may need to see your doctor

COVID-19 Vaccine – When Eligible, Get Your COVID-19 Shot:

  • Vaccines have saved more lives than any other public health action. They are the most powerful weapon we have against deadly infectious diseases. Follow the science.
  • Safe and effective vaccines are now available for people age 16 and older.
  • Vaccine research on younger children is in progress. Age 12 to 16 approval is expected in Fall 2021. Age 11 and younger approval is expected by Spring 2022.
  • When you are offered a COVID-19 vaccine, get one. It could save your life and protect your family.

COVID-19 Testing – Talk with your Doctor:

  • For questions about testing, call your doctor during office hours.
  • The availability of testing and where to get it can be different for every community.
  • Doctors may order a test about 5 to 7 days after known exposure, if there are no symptoms (CDC). Testing done during the first 5 days after exposure will usually be negative.

Measure Temperature

  • Measure the exposed person’s temperature 2 times each day. Do this until 10 days after exposure to COVID-19.
  • Report any fevers or respiratory symptoms to your family’s doctor.
  • Early detection of symptoms and quarantine are the only way to reduce spread of the disease.

Home Quarantine: How to do it

  • Quarantine means restricting people who were exposed to a contagious disease from contact with others who are well. They are monitored closely to see if they become sick (CDC).
  • The quarantine period is usually 10 days if no testing is done. If you have a negative test, you may be able to end quarantine after 7 days. Call your doctor for specific instructions regarding teh timeframe for quarantine.
  • The level of quarantine needed for an exposed person who has no symptoms, may depend on the degree of exposure.
  • For now, the exposed person will need to stay at home:
    • Do Not allow any visitors (such as friends).
    • Do Not go to school or work.
    • Do Not go to stores, restaurants, places of worship or other public places.
    • Avoid public transportation or ride sharing.
    • Other family members are not on quarantine unless the exposed person becomes sick. Even then there are exceptions, such as exposed health care workers or first responders who do not have any symptoms.
  • Isolation Questions for Your Doctor: home isolation can be complicated. A parent may need to return to work. Someone in the household may be elderly or have a serious medical problem. If you have additional questions, call your doctor during office hours. Your doctor is the best resource for up-to-date information on COVID-19.
  • Day 15 or Later After Close Contact and No Symptoms – Quarantine is Over:
    • The COVID-19 infection starts within 14 days of an exposure.
    • The exposed person has no symptoms of respiratory infection (such as fever or cough) during the 14 days after an exposure.
    • They should be safe from getting COVID-19.
    • If the exposed person has been on home isolation, it can be stopped.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • Fever occurs.
  • Cough or trouble breathing occurs
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 occur
  • You think you or your child needs to be seen
  • You have other questions or concerns

Author: Barton Schmitt, MD, FAAP
Copyright: Copyright 2021. Updated 3/26/2021.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.