- 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, on the average, 3 to 4 days after the last exposure. The onset can range from 2 to 10 days.
- Since it’s been less than 10 days, the exposed person still at risk for getting sick with COVID-19.
- You need to watch for symptoms until 10 days have passed.
- Stay at home if you are not vaccinated or have not had a COVID-19 infection and follow this medical advice.
- The exposed person does not have any symptoms. Exposed people don’t need to see a doctor.
- You may need to get a COVID-19 test. See Testing section below.
- If you become sick and develop more than mild symptoms, you may need to see your doctor
- Testing is the only way to know for sure who has COVID-19. Can’t tell by symptoms. Reason: most respiratory viruses cause similar symptoms.
- It is easiest to test at home using a COVID-19 test kit (rapid antigen) . Free kits can be ordered to have on hand using this link: https://www.covid.gov/tests. These kits are also available at most pharmacies. Testing is offered at many sites without a doctor’s order. Many doctor’s offices, retail clinics, and urgent care centers offer testing. Community drive-through sites or pharmacies may also be testing site options.
- For questions about testing, call your doctor during office hours.
- Diagnostic tests: these are performed on nasal or mouth secretions. The tests can tell us if you have a COVID-19 infection now. Timing is important on when to do this test:
- With Symptoms. Get a test within 1 to 2 days of onset of symptoms. If you test negative and continue to have cold-like symptoms, re-test on day 3.
- Without Symptoms and a COVID-19 close contact. You can get a test on day 3 to 5 after exposure.
Call Your Doctor If:
- Severe cough or trouble breathing occurs
Author: Barton Schmitt, MD, FAAP
Copyright: Copyright 2022. Updated 8/27/2022.
Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.