The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 7 May 2020

The virus and the illness

The virus and the illness

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    In most people, COVID-19 manifests as a respiratory tract infection, and many different symptoms may be present. It is not possible to distinguish COVID-19 from other infections from only the symptoms – a laboratory test is required.

    Among the reported symptoms are:

    • Cough
    • Fever
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Runny nose
    • Blocked nose
    • Sore throat
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Muscle and joint pain
    • Loss of smell and taste
    • Diarrhoea

    Most people get mild symptoms and can recover at home without professional medical care. The symptoms often appear gradually. Some people get a severe form of the illness, with breathing difficulties and pneumonia.

    It is very important that you stay at home if you feel ill. If you can no longer manage the illness on your own, please call 1177 for medical advice (available in English).

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:19:21 PM

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  • Listen

    COVID-19 is mainly transmitted between people via respiratory droplets or secretions from the respiratory tract. Transmission via droplets happens when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or breathes out and the droplets reach mucous tissue in someone's eyes, nose, or mouth.

    There might be places and situations where the risk of transmission is higher, even if we keep a distance from each other, e.g. in cramped areas with bad ventilation.

    The virus can be transmitted via contaminated surfaces, so-called indirect contact transmission, but the risk of getting infected via contaminated surfaces is considered to be low.

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:19:52 PM

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    The incubation period, i.e. the time between getting infected and developing symptoms, seems to be between 2 and 14 days.

    Most people develop symptoms after around 5 days, but individual cases may deviate from this pattern.

    Updated: 5/18/2020 1:32:40 PM

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    If you have had COVID-19, you have some protection against reinfection. This means that you are less likely to become infected and seriously ill, and less likely to infect others if you are exposed to the virus again. Over time, the protection that you get after an infection wanes and there is an increased risk of getting infected again. At present, we estimate that the protection after having had COVID-19 lasts at least six months from the time of infection.

    Updated: 9/17/2021 3:20:36 PM

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