The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 15 November 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 for 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 unvaccinated adults and children of preschool age and above to get tested. While you wait for testing and the results, you must 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 vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 in the past six months, you do not normally need to get tested. However, certain groups need to get tested even if they are vaccinated. The regions are responsible for testing.

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.

If the person is unvaccinated, they must also take a COVID-19 test. The person must then stay home while they wait for their 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

Other rules apply if a member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19. These rules will tell you what you must do to prevent spreading the virus.

  • If you are unvaccinated, we urge you to stay home and get tested even if you have no symptoms.
  • Generally, there are no special rules for people who are vaccinated and symptom-free. If you have been vaccinated and have symptoms, you should get tested and stay home while you wait for the results.
  • Specific testing guidelines apply for people who work in health and social care.
  • Generally, there are no special rules for people who have had COVID-19 in the past six months. However, you must stay home if you develop symptoms. 

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.

You should also:

  • avoid close contact with people who are not members of your household.
  • 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.

If you are vaccinated

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 6 months. Specific testing guidelines apply for people who work in health and social care.

If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, 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.

Procedures for children and young people from preschool 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. If you have not been vaccinated, you must also take a COVID-19 test.

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

If you are vaccinated

If a member of your household or a close contact has COVID-19 and you develop symptoms, you must stay home and get tested. You must stay home while you wait for your test results. You do not need to stay home if you do not have any symptoms. However, always stay alert in case you develop symptoms at a later stage.

You will be given more information from the contact tracer or the person you have spent time with. 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 are.

If you are unvaccinated

If a member of your household has COVID-19, you must stay home and get tested regardless of whether you develop symptoms or not. The healthcare service will send you rules you must follow. 

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

If you 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.