When you have coronavirus, the NHS guidelines are to stay at home and look after yourself, doing what you can to relieve the symptoms by resting, staying hydrated and taking paracetamol if needed.
Current guidelines say you need to stay at home for seven days, so the majority of people can expect to be feeling much better within a week.
But what if you’ve had coronavirus symptoms for more than a week and are not feeling better?
Assessing your symptoms
Current NHS advice is to use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if you’ve had symptoms for longer than a week. You can also dial 111 from your phone.
When you contact 111, there’ll be a short assessment to understand the severity of your symptoms and whether you’re in an at-risk group before advising on next steps.
Questions may include:
- Do you have a fever?
- Do you have a new cough?
- When did symptoms start?
- Are you so breathless that you are unable to speak more than a few words?
- Are you breathing harder or faster than usual when doing nothing at all?
- Are you so ill that you’ve stopped doing all of your usual daily activities?
- Have you suddenly become confused, or much more confused than normal?
- Has a doctor told you that getting an infection might be very serious? This means you have a condition that weakens your immune system. For example having chemotherapy, had an organ transplant, have HIV/AIDS or had your spleen removed.
- Have you had a letter from the NHS advising you to shield (isolate) for the next 12 weeks?
You’ll be advised what to do next based on your answers. This may include continued self-care at home or seeing a health professional for further assessment.
Continued self-care at home
Though some people feel better after a week, early evidence suggests it can take longer. Initial research has found symptoms tend to last between 8-11 days.
It’s important to keep monitoring your symptoms whilst you’re at home. Keep taking your temperature regularly to see if you have a fever.
If your symptoms worsen or you develop breathing difficulties, it’s important to contact 111 again.
If you or someone you’re caring for is having significant difficulties breathing, this is a medical emergency and you should call 999.
Further medical attention
Based on your answers, the NHS 111 service may decide you need to be seen by a medical professional.
All hospitals now have a coronavirus isolation pod where patients can be seen away from other hospital patients.
Operating procedures vary by hospital and the NHS team will advise you on next steps and put you in contact with your local hospital’s team if needed.
If you’re worried about COVID-19 you can download our full guide ‘What to do if you think you have coronavirus‘.