Understanding the length of time it takes for someone to become sick after being exposed to COVID-19 is vital for slowing the spread. You may have recently been exposed to COVID-19 and are now asking, “How long should I be quarantining? When should I consider COVID-19 testing? Will I even get sick?”
Since the start of the pandemic, the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (more commonly known as the CDC) on different aspects of COVID-19 have changed. This is due to scientists and medical professionals gathering more data and research on these issues over the past couple of years. As further discoveries are made, the CDC ensures its recommendations remain up-to-date with the latest findings. But what are the latest findings and guidelines? To respond to that question, we have put together a list of the most commonly asked questions on the subject with the latest answers from trusted sources.
The latest from the CDC is that it can take between two and 14 days for COVID-19 symptoms to present themselves after you have been exposed. This time between exposure and when symptoms start is known as the “incubation period.” A 2020 study discovered that the most common incubation period was approximately five days. This study also found that 97.5% of those who will develop symptoms will do so within 11.5 days after exposure.
Symptoms of COVID-19 vary from person to person, so your experience may be quite different from others you know who have had the virus. Here is a list from Johns Hopkins Medicine of symptoms to watch out for if you have been exposed or think you may have COVID-19:
If more severe symptoms present themselves, such as persistent chest pain or pressure, new confusion, bluish lips or face, inability to wake up or stay awake, or extreme difficulty breathing, you should call 911 or an emergency care facility.
If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms after exposure, get tested immediately. For those not experiencing symptoms (or “asymptomatic” people), the CDC recommends getting tested at least five days after exposure. In the time between exposure and getting your test results, it is important to isolate yourself in the event that you test positive for the virus. If you do test positive and have symptoms, continue reading for further instructions on what to do next.
You should quarantine at home for five full days. This is an updated recommended length of time to quarantine based on new findings. The latest CDC COVID quarantine guidelines for those testing positive with symptoms are the same for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. When calculating the days to quarantine, count day one as the first full day after your symptoms developed or you were tested for COVID-19.
You can end your isolation after five full days if you have gone 24 hours with no fever and you note improvement in your symptoms. You must also not be taking any fever-reducing medication. For the days following until day 10, you should wear a mask when around others, not travel, and avoid being around people who would be considered high risk.
This greatly depends on how severe your symptoms are. For mild cases of COVID-19, recovery time is around one to two weeks. Those with more severe symptoms can take longer to recover, sometimes up to six weeks or more. And in some of the worst cases, COVID symptoms can stick around for months and even cause permanent damage to vital organs.
There are many places to get tested for COVID-19, but it is important to ensure you are choosing a trusted provider. BioCollections can be that trusted provider. We have been around for over 20 years, and we have used that time to perfect our testing procedures down to the tiniest detail. From start to finish, we strive to lessen the stress surrounding COVID-19 testing by delivering excellent service and accurate results to our clientele. If you need to get tested for COVID-19, you can schedule an appointment with us online right now. If you have more questions about us or COVID-19, please contact us or check out our BioCollections blog for more commonly asked questions and answers on this topic.