Is Fever a Symptom of COVID-19?

Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2021
Is Fever a Symptom of COVID-19
Fever is a symptom of COVID-19, although not everyone presents with fever. Learn about other COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if you are infected

COVID-19 is caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, which initially causes mild flu-like symptoms and can later progress to severe, life-threatening symptoms that affect the lungs.

Fever is a symptom of COVID-19 because fever is the body’s primary response against any infection. Studies have suggested that some patients with COVID-19 may present with low-grade fever of about 100-101 F, although not all patients present with fever.

In most COVID-19 cases, fever is persistent and ranges between 100-102 F. The fever usually comes down with sponging and acetaminophen administration.

If you have a fever, it is important to call your doctor or health care provider, as testing may be required. You should isolate yourself and take care to safeguard others while waiting for the results.

What is considered a fever?

A fever occurs when body temperature rises above normal. Normal body temperature is about 98.6 F. Fever is classified into grades:

  • Low-grade fever: 100-101 F
  • High-grade fever: 103-104 F
  • Dangerous range: 104-107 F
  • Hyperpyrexia: Above 106.1 F

What are other symptoms of COVID-19?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has proposed a list of all possible symptoms seen in COVID-19, which can help determine early testing and diagnosis.

Most common symptoms

Less common symptoms

Serious symptoms

How soon do symptoms appear in COVID-19?

Typically, symptoms appear 5-6 days after being infected with the virus. In some cases, however, it may take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. If you suspect you may have been infected with the COVID-19 virus, seek medical attention immediately.

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and have mild symptoms, you can manage symptoms at home following a doctor’s advice. It may take 1-2 weeks to recover. Patients with severe symptoms may take up to 6 weeks to recover.

What is the difference between asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic COVID-19?

Both terms refer to patients who have not developed any symptoms even after being infected with the virus.

  • Asymptomatic: Asymptomatic refers to patients who are infected but never exhibit symptoms throughout the illness.
  • Pre-symptomatic: Pre-symptomatic refers to patients who are infected, have not yet developed symptoms, but will eventually develop symptoms.

How to protect yourself from COVID-19

Protect yourself and others

  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible and follow local immunization guidelines.
  • Get booster doses as and when recommended in your country.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 5 feet between yourself and others. Crowds and direct touch should be avoided.
  • When physical distance is not feasible and the environment is inadequately ventilated, use a well-fitted mask.
  • Hands should be cleaned frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water.
  • When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue. Dispose of used tissues promptly and wash your hands.
  • Surfaces that are handled frequently, such as doorknobs, faucets, and phone screens, should be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • Self-isolate until you recover if you develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.

Wear a mask properly

  • It is important to cover your nose, mouth, and chin.
  • Clean your hands before putting on your mask, after removing it, and after touching it.
  • If you are using a reusable mask, place it in a clean plastic bag after removing it or wash it if it is washable. If you are using disposable masks, change them daily.

Make your surroundings safe

  • Avoid the 3 Cs: Closed, crowded or involving close touch.
  • Outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings, especially if the inside area is confined and there is no outside air flowing in.
  • If you cannot avoid busy or indoor environments, take the following precautions:
    • Open windows to enhance natural airflow.
    • Always wear a mask.

What to do if you are feeling ill

  • Seek medical assistance right away if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. Call first and then follow the instructions of your local health authorities.
  • Learn about the complete range of COVID-19 symptoms. The most prevalent COVID-19 symptoms are fever, dry cough, fatigue, and loss of taste or smell. Aches and pains, headache, sore throat, red or irritated eyes, diarrhea, a skin rash, or discoloration of fingers or toes are less common.
  • Stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days from the beginning of symptoms and then 3 more days after symptoms have subsided. Plan for someone to deliver supplies while you are isolating. Wear a well-fitting mask if you need to leave the house to avoid infecting others.
  • Stay up to date on the most recent information from reputable sources, such as the World Health Organization or your local and national health authorities. Local and national governments, as well as public health agencies, are best situated to advise residents in your region on how to protect themselves.
Medically Reviewed on 12/13/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

Zhuang SF, Hu J, Qiao N, et al. Low-grade fever during COVID-19 convalescence: A report of 3 cases. World J Clin Cases. 2020;8(12):2655-2661.

World Health Organization. Advice for the public: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).