Coronavirus > Coronavirus information and support > What do to if you have symptoms - getting tested & self-isolation

What do to if you have symptoms of coronavirus

Looking out for symptoms and taking action

The main symptoms of coronavirus are a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or fever or a loss of or change in sense of taste or smell . If you have a chest condition, the symptoms of coronavirus are the same for you as for everyone else. However, you might also experience changes to your usual symptoms. For example:

  • If you have a chest condition, your usual symptoms might become worse.
  • If you usually feel breathless, your breathlessness might become worse.
  • If you already have a cough, your cough might be different to your normal cough or your normal cough might feel worse than usual.

It is important to look out for any changes to your usual symptoms and take action. If you think your chest symptoms are getting worse or have changed, speak to your GP or a member of your respiratory (chest) team for advice.

What to do if you have symptoms of coronavirus

  • If you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change of your sense of smell or taste, you need to stay home, self-isolate and request a coronavirus test as soon as possible through NHS Scotland’s Test & Protect service. Request a test online or by calling 0800 028 2816.
  • If anyone you live with has a high temperature or a new, continuous cough, you all need to stay home and self-isolate. They need to request a coronavirus test as soon as possible through NHS Scotland’s Test & Protect service. Request a test online or by calling 0800 028 2816.

If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate and stay home for 7 days. Others in your household should self-isolate and stay home for 14 days. If your symptoms get worse or last longer than 7 days, call 111. If you still have a fever after 7 days, keep self-isolating for 48 hours (2 full days) after the fever ends.

You can find more guidance below about how to self-isolate.

The contact tracing Test & Protect service

NHS Scotland’s Test & Protect service is designed to help stop the spread of coronavirus. It does this by:

  • testing people who have developed symptoms of coronavirus
  • getting in touch with people who may have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive (this is called ‘contact tracing’)
  • asking those who may have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive to self-isolate for 14 days.

By asking those who may have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive to self-isolate, means that if they later develop symptoms of coronavirus, the risk of them spreading the virus to others has already been greatly reduced.

You may get tested at a drive-through test site or get a test through the post. If you have tested positive, your name will not be shared with your close contacts unless you have given permission to NHS Scotland to share this information.

What to do if you test positive for coronavirus

If you test positive, you need to continue to self-isolate for 7 days. Others in your household should continue to self-isolate for 14 days. If your symptoms get worse or last longer than 7 days, call 111. If you still have a fever after 7 days, keep self-isolating for 48 hours (2 full days) after the fever ends.

NHS Scotland’s contact tracers will get in touch with you to ask you confidentially who you have had recent contact with and will get in touch with them. Your name will not be shared unless you have given permission for it to be shared.

If the test comes back negative and you do not have coronavirus, you and your household can stop self-isolating immediately.

You can find downloadable information about testing and the Test & Protect service here.

Self-isolation

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation means staying at home and not going out at all.

If you need food or medicines, you will need to order them online or over the phone, or ask someone (such as a family member, neighbour or friend) to pick them up for you and drop them off at your home. Do not have contact with them when they do.

You should try to stay at least 2 meters (6 feet or about 3 steps) away from others in your home.

Do not have any visitors, except for those providing essential care.

How do I know if I need to self-isolate?

Self-isolation applies to people who have symptoms of coronavirus and anyone who lives with them.

How long do I have to self-isolate for if I have symptoms of coronavirus?

If you have a high temperature or a new, continuous cough or a loss of sense of smell or taste, you need to self-isolate and book a test. After 7 days, your risk of passing on the virus to others is greatly reduced.

If your symptoms are severe, you are short of breath or finding it difficult to breathe, your symptoms are getting worse or you are not better after 7 days, call your GP or 111. Do not go to your GP, pharmacy or hospital.

How long do I have to self-isolate for if I am living with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus?

If anyone you are living with has symptoms of coronavirus, you need to self-isolate for 14 days, even if you do not have any symptoms. This is because you might have the virus but not yet show any signs of it.

The 14 day period starts from when the person in the household first showed symptoms of coronavirus.

If someone else in the household develops symptoms, they then need to self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started, even if this takes them over the 14 day period.

The following graphic helps to explain how long each member of the household has to to self-isolate for, depending on whether or not they also coronavirus symptoms: Self-isolation: what to do if you or someone in your household develops symptoms of coronavirus.

Coping with self-isolation

Self-isolation is difficult, especially if you live by yourself. It is really important to try to stay in contact with family and friends as much as possible through phone calls, emails, messaging and video calls. Also try to stay active as much as you can in the home.

Every Mind Matters offers advice and tips if you are staying at home. Remember that self-isolation is temporary and will not last forever.

Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland Advice Line nurses are also there to provide confidential support, advice and information. Call them for free on 0808 801 0899, email adviceline@chss.org.uk or text NURSE to 66777.

For more information on self-isolation, see NHS Inform’s Stay at Home advice.