What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- 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
How long does it take for symptoms to appear?
Symptoms take 2-14 days to appear. Individuals can be contagious before exhibiting symptoms, and some individuals may be contagious and never exhibit symptoms.
What should I do if I am sick?
Call your doctor. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
How long do I need to self-quarantine?
CDC current recommendations vary depending on exposure.
If you think or know you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, you can be around others after
- 3 days with no fever and
- Respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath) and
- 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
If you tested positive for COVID-19 and had no symptoms, you can be around others after
- 10 days have passed since the test and
- Continue to have no symptoms.
If you had close contact with another person with COVID-19, you should stay home until
- 14 days after exposure.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but experts are still learning more about how this virus spreads.
How can I prevent COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- If in public cover your mouth and nose with a mask. Cloth masks are recommended by the CDC.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- Wear cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations. Cloth face coverings may slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings
For information on facemasks or cloth coverings, see CDC’s Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19
These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.
What do I do if I think I may have COVID-19?
If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms like those mentioned above, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. If you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. If you do not have a primary healthcare provider, contact an urgent care facility or local hospital.
If you have any of the following emergency warning signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Bluish lips or face
If you are going to an urgent care or emergency facility, call ahead to notify the operator that you may have COVID-19.
How can I get a COVID-19 test?
Harris County Public Health encourages residents to get tested for COVID-19 if you feel you have it or have been in contact with someone who tested positive. HCPH has an online screening tool located here where you can see if you qualify for testing and schedule an appointment at your nearest drive-thru testing location.
What about a COVID-19 home testing kit?
There are not any FDA-authorized tests for COVID-19 that can be completely used and processed at home. However, there are some tests where a patient can collect a sample at home using a special kit, and then send that sample into a lab for processing.
Fraudulent health claims, tests, and products can pose serious health risks. They may keep some patients from seeking care or delay necessary medical treatment. The FDA will take appropriate action to protect consumers from bad actors who take advantage of a crisis to deceive the public by marketing tests that pose risks to patient health.
If you are aware of fraudulent test kits for COVID-19, please report them to the FDA. Reports may be sent via email to: FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov.
How do I know if I was exposed?
You generally need to be in pretty close contact with a sick person to get infected. For example:
- Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19,
- Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
- Being within 6 feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes, OR
- Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).
If you have not been in close contact with a sick person with COVID-19, you are considered to be at low risk for infection. You can continue to go to work and school, but should monitor your health for 14 days and stay away from others if you get sick.
What do I do if I was exposed?
You should monitor your health for fever, cough and shortness of breath during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. You should not go to work or school and should avoid public places for 14 days.
What should I do if I am a close contact to someone with COVID-19 and get sick?
If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you should stay at home and away from other people. If you have any of the following conditions that may increase your risk for a serious infection —age 60 years or over, are pregnant, or have medical conditions—contact your physician’s office and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. They may want to monitor your health more closely or test you for COVID-19.
If you do not have a high-risk condition but want medical advice, you can call your healthcare provider and tell them that you were exposed to someone with COVID-19. Your healthcare provider can help you decide if you need to be evaluated in person. There are currently no medications to treat COVID-19. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you may have been exposed to COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive or immediately after they arrive.
My doctor told me to call the health department.
The City of Seabrook does not have the ability to do COVID-19 testing. If you start to exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, call your physician or hospital. Do not go to the emergency room or doctor’s office without calling first.
The Texas Department of State Health Services has established a COVID-19 Call Center and an email box to receive incoming questions from the general public.
DSHS COVID-19 Call Center:
Call 2-1-1 or 877.541.7905
I need mental health support, can I call someone?
If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, help is available. Please call the toll-free HHSC COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line at 833-986-1919 to speak with a mental health professional for help dealing with stress, anxiety, or depression.