The Public Health Agency of Sweden
Updated 7 October 2021

What to do if you feel ill

Children and adults who feel ill with a runny nose, a cough, a temperature, or other symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home to avoid infecting others. Here you can read about what to do if you or someone in your family falls ill. There is also information for those who are vaccinated and fall ill.

If you feel ill

According to the Swedish Communicable Diseases Act you are obliged to take precautionary measures to protect yourself and others against the spread of COVID-19.

This is what to do if you feel ill with symptoms of COVID-19:

Stay at home

You should stay at home even if you only feel slightly ill. This applies even if you have previously had COVID-19, or are vaccinated.

Get tested

The Public Health Agency of Sweden recommends that everyone with symptoms of COVID-19 get tested to find out if you have an ongoing infection. This applies even if you are vaccinated. The same recommendation applies to children from preschool class age, i.e. from about 6 years of age. If you have had COVID-19 in the past 6 months you do not have to take a test.

While waiting for your test result you should act as if you have COVID-19: stay at home, avoid close contact with others and wash your hands often.

If someone in the household is ill with symptoms of COVID-19

When a person in your household is ill with a runny nose, a cough, a temperature, or other symptoms of COVID-19, that person should stay at home and get tested, and also stay at home while waiting for the test result. If possible, the person who is ill should be in a separate room. Other members of the household without symptoms can go to work and school as usual.

Preschool children are primarily advised to stay at home if they are ill, without getting tested for COVID-19.

If someone in the household has tested positive for COVID-19

If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted by the health care provider and get rules of conduct. The rules tell you what you need to do not to spread the infection further. You will be asked to get tested even if you do not have symptoms.

The rules of conduct can be found here:

If you are vaccinated with two doses and at least two weeks have passed since the second dose, and you have no symptoms, you do not need to stay at home or get tested. Specific test recommendations apply to persons who work in the health and social care sector.

If you need medical advice, please call 1177.

Everyone in the household should bear this in mind:

  • Try to keep a distance from the person who is ill. If possible, the person who is ill should be in a separate room.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Always wash your hands before eating, before preparing food, and after toilet use.
  • Cough and sneeze into the bend of your arm or in a tissue. Always throw the tissue in a litter bin and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Pay attention to symptoms in other members of the household. Usually, symptoms appear about 5 days after exposure. The time may vary between 2 and 7 days, and in some cases up to 14 days. If you have seen someone who has COVID-19.

If you have seen someone who has COVID-19

If you know that you have seen someone who has COVID-19 you are recommended to get tested, even if you do not have any symptoms. You will get more information via the contact tracing procedures or via the person you have seen.

Pay attention to symptoms of COVID-19. Usually, it takes about 5 days for symptoms to develop. But in some cases it takes up to 14 days. You should avoid close contact with other people for seven days. Work from home if possible.

Procedures for testing of people without symptoms may vary from region to region. At the website 1177.se you can read about what applies to testing for COVID-19 in the region where you live.

This applies if you are vaccinated

If you are vaccinated with two doses and two weeks have passed since the second dose, this applies if someone in your household, or a close contact, falls ill with COVID-19:

  • If you develop symptoms of COVID-19 you should stay at home and get tested. There is a small risk that you fall ill with COVID-19 even if you are vaccinated, and thus infect others.
  • If you do not develop any symptoms of COVID-19 you do not need to stay at home and you can go to work. Always follow the instructions provided from the healthcare.
  • If you work in the healthcare or social care sector, you may have to get tested for COVID-19 even if you are vaccinated and have no symptoms. You will get information from your workplace and via the contact tracing procedures about what applies to you. 

Further reading