How long can COVID symptoms appear, what to do if you continue to test positive – NBC Chicago


Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for more than two years, individuals may still have many questions if they end up testing positive for the virus.

When testing positive, patients may be curious about how long they will be contagious, how to self-isolate and for how long, and what to do if they continue to test positive for the virus even after their illnesses have disappeared. symptoms.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the virus.

How Soon Could COVID Symptoms Start?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID can appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the virus, but could start even earlier than that.

How long are you contagious with COVID?

According to the CDC, someone who tests positive for COVID can potentially spread the virus for up to two days before they start showing symptoms of the virus.

As for how long someone remains contagious, that largely depends on the case, according to CDC data, but many experts say people who are no longer symptomatic could potentially no longer be contagious, but these experts also recommend people to contact their doctor for more information.

When can you end isolation if you test positive for COVID?

If someone tests positive for COVID, the CDC recommends they self-isolate for at least five days, and longer if they continue to show symptoms.

It is also recommended that someone who has symptoms of COVID, but has not tested positive for the virus, self-isolate according to CDC guidelines.

Isolation can end if:

  • You can end isolation after five full days if you have been fever-free for 24 hours without using fever medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and there is no need to delay the end of isolation).
  • If you continue to have a fever or your other symptoms have not improved after 5 days of self-isolation, you should wait to end your self-isolation until you have been fever-free for 24 hours without use anti-fever medicines and your other symptoms have improved. Continue to wear a properly fitted mask until day 10. Contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
  • Do not go to places where you cannot wear a mask, such as restaurants and some gyms, and avoid eating with others at home and at work until 10 days after your first day of symptoms.

What should I do if the symptoms are gone and I continue to test positive?

Many people have reported continuing to test positive for COVID even after their symptoms have cleared, and while the CDC hasn’t given specific guidance to these people, some experts say an absence of symptoms likely means that a person is no longer contagious.

In an interview with CNBC, infectious disease specialist Dr Monica Gandhi said she would feel “really comfortable” with someone without symptoms ending their COVID isolation after five days, even if they are still tested positive for the virus.

She still recommends that the individual follow CDC guidelines and wear a mask for days six through ten after testing positive, even if their symptoms have resolved.


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