According to the CDC, older adults, people with pre-existing medical conditions, and those who are pregnant or recently pregnant seem to be more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19. Severe illness means that a person with COVID-19 may need hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe.
People at increased risk, and those who live or visit with them, need to take precautions to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.
People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild to severe as shown below. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms.
Although children are at a lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19 compared with adults, children can:
- Be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19
- Get very sick from COVID-19
- Have both short and long-term health complications from COVID-19
- Spread COVID-19 to others
Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared with children without underlying medical conditions. Children who get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can also develop serious complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) – a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C:
- Ongoing fever PLUS more than one of the following: stomach pain, bloodshot eyes, diarrhea, dizziness or lightheadedness (signs of low blood pressure), skin rash, vomiting.
Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms.
While most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home, CDC’s website features an interactive symptom checker to help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care.
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. 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
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.