The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 2 December 2021

If you or a family member has become ill

Adults and children who develop symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough and who feel generally unwell should stay home to avoid infecting others. This also applies to those who display other symptoms that could be due to COVID-19 or other respiratory infection. Here, you will find information about what you need to do if you or anyone else in your family becomes ill.

If you feel unwell

Pay attention to new symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough or feeling generally unwell. Stay home if you feel unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory infection. The recommendation to stay at home applies to all ages, and also to those who are vaccinated or who have previously had a confirmed COVID-19 infection.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines aim to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections such as the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza. The guidelines will also protect those most at risk of becoming seriously ill. Sweden’s Communicable Diseases Act stipulates that you must take precautions to protect yourself and others against the spread of COVID.19.

What you need to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory infection:

  • Stay home. This applies to everyone, even if you have previously had COVID-19 or are vaccinated. Symptoms can include a runny nose, sore throat, fever, cough and feeling generally unwell.
  • Get tested. The Public Health Agency of Sweden advises all adults and children of preschool class age and above to get tested. While you wait for testing and the results, you must stay at home and act as if you have COVID-19.

The main advice for children of preschool age who have symptoms of COVID-19 is to stay home. There is no need for them to get tested. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six months, you do not normally need to get tested. The regions are responsible for testing. Visit 1177.se to find out what applies to testing in the region where you live.

How long should I stay at home?

If anyone in your household is ill

It is important to pay attention to new symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, fever, or a general feeling of illness. When a member of your household is ill with  symptoms that could be due to COVID-19 or other respiratory infection, the person who is ill should stay home.

The person who is ill needs to stay home while waiting for the test results. If possible, they should stay in a separate room.

While the person waits for their test results, the other members of the household who do not have any symptoms may go to work, preschool, school, and after-school centres as normal. Visit 1177.se to find out what applies in your region.

If a member of your household has a confirmed case of COVID-19

If a member of a household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the other members get rules of conduct from the health care services. The rules tell you what to do in order not to spread the infection further.

If you are a household contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you are a suspected case and you will get rules of conduct. This applies:

  • regardless of whether you have symptoms or not
  • even if you are vaccinated
  • regardless of age.

You should stay home for at least seven days. Everyone from preschool class age and above should get tested for COVID-19:

  • You are recommended to get tested immediately if you develop symptoms.
  • If you have no symptoms, you are recommended to get tested on day five from the day on which the person who is ill took the test.

If you do not develop any symptoms and have received a negative test result, you can go back to your daily activities seven days after the day on which the person in your household tested positive. You still have to pay attention to symptoms even after seven days.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six months, you generally do not get any rules of conduct. However, if you develop symptoms, you should stay home.

Visit the Swedish Society of Infectious Diseases website where you can find the rules in force for people who have been infected and people in their household. Scroll down until you reach COVID-19 and click “Patientinformation – engelska” and “Information och förhållningsregler till hushållskontakter – engelska” for the most recent version of the patient information and rules for household contacts respectively.

Contact tracing form (Swedish Society of Infectious Diseases) (in Swedish)

All members of the household must remember to:

  • try to keep at least an arm’s length away from the person who is ill. If possible, the person who is ill should stay in a separate room.
  • cough and sneeze into their elbow or a tissue. Always throw the used tissues into the bin and wash your hands afterwards.
  • practice regular handwashing, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • make sure hands are always washed before eating, when cooking, and after going to the toilet.
  • stay alert if anyone else in the household develops symptoms. It can take between 2 and 7 days for symptoms to appear after becoming infected. In exceptional cases it might take up to 14 days.

If you have been around someone who has COVID-19

If you are unvaccinated

If you have not been vaccinated and know you have spent time with someone who has COVID-19, we recommend that you get tested, even if you do not have any symptoms. You are considered to be a close contact and will be sent more information from the contact tracer or the person you spent time with.

Even if you have no symptoms, you should also:

  • avoid close contact with people who are not members of your household, for seven days
  • work from home if possible.

Each region may have different guidelines for testing people without symptoms. Visit 1177.se to find out what applies for COVID-19 testing in the region where you live.

Specific test recommendations apply to patients, care users, and staff within health and social care.

If you are vaccinated or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six months

You do not need to get tested if you have been vaccinated and have no symptoms. The same applies if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past six months. Specific testing guidelines apply to people who work in health and social care.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms or symptoms of a respiratory infection, you should get tested and stay home while you wait for your test results. It can take between 2 and 7 days for symptoms to appear after becoming infected. In exceptional cases it might take up to 14 days.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six months, you are recommended to stay home if you develop symptoms, without getting tested.

Procedures for children and young people from preschool class age to upper-secondary school

Pay attention to new symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, fever, cough or a general feeling of illness. You must always stay home if you develop symptoms of a respiratory infection. You must also take a COVID-19 test. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six months, you do not need to get tested.

Below, you can read more about what applies if someone in your household or a close contact has COVID-19.

If a member of your household has COVID-19 you are considered a suspected case and will receive rules of conduct. This applies:

  • regardless of whether you have symptoms or not
  • even if you are vaccinated.

You must stay home for at least seven days and you should get tested:

  • You are recommended to get tested immediately if you experience symptoms.
  • If you have no symptoms, you are recommended to get tested on day five from the day on which the person in your household took the test.

If you do not develop any symptoms, you still need to pay attention to symptoms even after seven days.

If a close contact, such as somebody at school, has COVID-19 and you develop symptoms, you must get tested and stay home while waiting for your results.

If you are unvaccinated and have no symptoms and are in grades 7–9 or upper secondary school, you need to get tested, but you can keep attending school and after-school activities. Younger people might need to get tested. You will find out more from the contact tracer or the person you have spent time with. You can continue to attend school and after-school activities.

Each region may have different guidelines for testing people without symptoms. Visit 1177.se to find out what applies for COVID-19 testing in the region where you live.

Procedures for children of preschool age

The main advice for children of preschool age is for them to stay home if they are ill with new symptoms such as a sore throat, runny nose, fever, cough or a general feeling of illness. There is no need for them to be tested for COVID-19.

If the child is a household contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 infection, the child will get rules of conduct from health care services. The child should stay home for seven days, regardless of symptoms. Testing is generally not recommended.