Stay at Home

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to stay home as much as possible. Only go out for essential activities, such as grocery shopping, getting medical care, or going to work if you cannot work from home. When you are out, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Stay home if you are sick, even if your symptoms are mild.


Protect yourself

Get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Wear a mask in public indoor settings, even if you are vaccinated. Practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others). Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face.


Be Supportive

Check in on friends and family who are at high risk of getting sick from COVID-19. Offer to help them with errands or chores. Be patient and understanding if they need to cancel plans or social events. Spread accurate information about COVID-19 and encourage others to get vaccinated and boosted.

about COVID-19

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) People may experience sudden fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, and other symptoms. Use viral tests like PCR or rapid at-home tests to determine if you are sick with COVID-19. Learn when and how to get tested. Antiviral medications are available to treat mild to moderate COVID-19.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Clean your hands with a hand sanitizer

  • Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Stay home if you’re sick

  • Wear a facemask if sick

  • Cover your mouth and nose

  • Throw used tissues in trash

  • Ensure solution has at least 70% alcohol

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Signs & Symptoms

COVID-19 Signs and Symptoms

Fever A fever is a body temperature that is higher than normal. A fever is a common symptom of many illnesses, including the flu, COVID-19, and the common cold. A fever is usually a sign that your body is fighting off an infection.

Cough A cough is a sudden expulsion of air from the lungs. Coughs can be caused by a variety of things, including the flu, COVID-19, and a cold. The cough associated with COVID-19 is often dry and persistent.

Shortness Of Breath Shortness of breath is the feeling of not being able to get enough air. It can be caused by a variety of things, including the flu, COVID-19, asthma, and pneumonia. Shortness of breath is a more serious symptom of COVID-19 and should be taken seriously.

Sore Throat A sore throat is pain or irritation in the throat that can make it difficult to swallow. Sore throats can be caused by a variety of things, including the flu, a cold, strep throat, and allergies. The sore throat associated with COVID-19 is often mild and may not be present in all cases.

Congestion Congestion is a feeling of fullness or stuffiness in the nose and sinuses. It is a common symptom of the flu and the common cold. It is not a common symptom of COVID-19.

Runny or stuffy noseA runny or stuffy nose is a common symptom of the flu and the common cold. It is not a common symptom of COVID-19.

Muscle achesMuscle aches are a common symptom of many illnesses, including the flu, COVID-19, and the common cold. The muscle aches associated with COVID-19 can be mild or severe.

Headache A headache is a pain in the head that can be caused by a variety of things, including stress, tension, allergies, and illness. Headaches can be mild or severe, and they can be a constant pain or come and go. The headache associated with COVID-19 is often mild and may not be present in all cases.

Diarrhea Diarrhea is loose, watery bowel movements. It can be caused by a variety of things, including food poisoning, the flu, and COVID-19. Diarrhea is not a common symptom of COVID-19.

Loss of taste or smell Loss of taste or smell is a common symptom of COVID-19. It is not a common symptom of the flu or the common cold.

Important Reminders

The symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu can be similar, so it is important to see a doctor for a diagnosis.

COVID-19 can be more serious than the flu, especially for older adults and people with underlying health conditions.

There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms.

The flu can be prevented by getting a flu vaccine.


Frequently asked questions about


Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) is a disease caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-It can be very contagious and spreads quickly. Over one million people have died from COVID-19 in the United States. COVID-19 most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel much like a cold, the flu, or pneumonia. COVID-19 may attack more than your lungs and respiratory system. Other parts of your body may also be affected by the disease. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people become severely ill. Some people including those with minor or no symptoms will develop Post-COVID Conditions – also called “Long COVID.”.
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis.
People in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading. Some people are worried about getting the disease from these people. Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma, for example, toward people who live in certain parts of the world, people who have traveled internationally, people who were in quarantine, or healthcare professionals. Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma is associated with a lack of knowledge about how COVID-19 spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger toward ordinary people instead of focusing on the disease that is causing the problem.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. People are thought to be most contagious when they are symptomatic (the sickest). That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. More recently the virus has also been detected in asymptomatic persons. How long someone is actively sick can vary so the decision on when to release someone from isolation is made using a test-based or non-test-based strategy (i.e. time since illness started and time since recovery) in consultation with state and local public health officials. The decision involves considering the specifics of each situation, including disease severity, illness signs and symptoms, and the results of laboratory testing for that patient. Learn more about CDC’s guidance on when to release someone from isolation and discharge hospitalized patients with COVID-19. For information on when someone who has been sick with COVID-19 is able to stop home isolation see Interim Guidance for Discontinuation of In-Home Isolation for Patients with COVID-19.
On February 11, 2020 the World Health Organization announced an official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak, first identified in Wuhan China. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV”. There are many types of human coronaviruses including some that commonly cause mild upper-respiratory tract illnesses. COVID-19 is a new disease, caused be a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. The name of this disease was selected following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practice for naming of new human infectious diseases.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Spread is more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in many affected geographic areas. Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Learn what is known about the spread of newly emerged coronaviruses.
CDC Stacks is a free, digital archive of scientific research and literature produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This online archive is composed of curated collections tailored for public health research needs. This repository is retained indefinitely and is available for public health professionals, researchers, as well as the general public. CDC Stacks provides access to current CDC research and literature such as the Open Access Collection. In addition, CDC Stacks offers a historical perspective that was previously not available, such as the first 30 volumes of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. As a fully-featured repository, CDC stacks provides the ability to search the full text of all documents, browse journal articles by public health subjects, and explore the curate collections of documents on relevant topics. Additional collections and ongoing additions to existing collections are planned for the future.