What Are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus?

With all the talk of the coronavirus, you’re probably monitoring every cough, sneeze, or mild cold just in case it turns into a deadly illness. Of course, without knowing the exact symptoms of coronavirus, you won’t be able to distinguish it from other illnesses. It doesn’t exactly announce itself with a nametag. As the virus spreads from country to country, it’s important to know how to spot the symptoms both in yourself and in those close to you. Here’s a look at the symptoms of the coronavirus.

1. Common symptoms are fever, shortness of breath, and coughing.
Coronavirus is a respiratory illness, so the symptoms will mostly affect your respiratory system. Coughing and shortness of breath are the most common, and a fever will generally accompany these. Don’t panic if you have these symptoms though, because they can apply to other illnesses as well.

2. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure.
When monitoring symptoms, keep in mind the time frame that they appear within. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to someone who could have the virus, symptoms can appear between 2 and 14 days afterward. For comparison, influenza symptoms are usually apparent 1-4 days after exposure. The longer incubation time might help coronavirus spread, since those who are infected don’t know they are yet and can still be contagious even without symptoms.

3. You might not be able to distinguish between flu symptoms and coronavirus.
One challenge when diagnosing coronavirus is that its symptoms are very close to the flu. Both are respiratory illnesses, and both can cause fever and shortness of breath. So, if you have flu-like symptoms, it’s wise to stay home, avoid contact with others, and work on getting better with rest, hydration, and fever-reducing medication. Keep in mind that about 80% of coronavirus cases have been mild. Even if you do get it, chances are, you’re going to be fine.
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Jan 24, 2020
The virus sounds a bit like "the big pretender", while you might think you have flu, or a cold, you could actually have this new virus. Or you may not have any serious symptoms. While always being fastidious with hand washing, I am a nurse, I am shocked by people who wear masks (which are said to do very little) but don't wash their hands. Please wear rubber gloves when going out. I sincerely wish everyone could see what is growing on hands under a microscope. It is enough to make you sick, pardon the pun people. I hope scientists find a vaccine and huge quantities are made so many can be inocculated. Hang in there folks, this too shall pass, probably not as fast as we would like it to.


Mar 24, 2020
A little bit of misinformation in the OP. The cough for COVID-19 is a dry cough.

But that could later develop into a wet cough later on, so if you're a natural cougher anyway (eg smoker) then you might miss the initial symptom.

Because my symptoms weren't severe enough, I was not able to get a test to confirm a diagnosis of COVID-19. But I know that I had it because I've never experienced shortness of breath in my life like I did for this. I also never experienced the tingling and itchiness deep in my lungs, and the dry cough. I've had the flu before and never experienced anything similar.

I'm attributing 10,000 miles of bicycle exercise over 4 years to my ability as a 53 yo to recover from COVID-19 without any hospitalization or medication. But I did experience all three of the main symptoms. The dry cough is the longest lasting ~ 30 days and counting.