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What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How do I know if I have it?

Last Updated: 02/06/2023

People with COVID-19 have reported a variety of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

How can I get tested?

Testing is widely available and open to everyone in New Jersey. Visit to find a testing location near you. You don't need insurance and free testing is available.

It's especially important to get tested if:

  • You have COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of your vaccination status or if you recently recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days. Test immediately.
  • You have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Wait at least 5 full days after your exposure and test on day 6.
  • You are in high-risk settings where screening testing is implemented.
  • You plan to be in contact with someone at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, especially if you are in an area with a CDC COVID-19 Community Level in Medium or High.
  • You have plans for travel. It is recommended to get tested with a viral test no more than 3 days before travel.

What emergency warning signs should I look for?

If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility and notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.