How Long After COVID Exposure Can Symptoms Appear?

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By this point, many of us are beginning to experience “pandemic fatigue.” However, it is still just as important as ever to continue our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 by continuing to follow health and safety protocols and knowing what to do if you or a loved one is exposed to the virus. The team of board-certified physicians and medical professionals at Health Services of North Texas is committed to helping educate and care for patients during the COVID pandemic with testing, limited vaccinations, and expert guidance in Plano, Wylie, and Denton. Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked COVID-19 questions here, including how long it may take symptoms to appear after exposure and when you should get tested.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID symptoms can range from nonexistent to severe and typically include:

  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste and/or smell

For many people, fever and a persistent cough are the first COVID symptoms to appear.

How long does it take COVID symptoms to show up?

Early COVID symptoms can develop as soon as two days after exposure to COVID. However, symptoms may not appear for a full two weeks in some patients. The CDC currently recognizes the COVID-19 incubation period as 2 –14 days after exposure.

When to get tested for COVID after exposure

It is critical that patients understand the most appropriate COVID testing timeline in order to get the most accurate result possible. Testing too soon after COVID exposure can produce a false negative test, which may result in the contagious patient unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Ideally, patients should wait until the fifth day after exposure to have a COVID-19 test performed. Additionally, testing appears to be more accurate once the patient has begun showing symptoms.

At this time, Health Services of North Texas is offering COVID-19 testing in Plano, Wylie, and Denton to patients during sick visits with appointments only. As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more readily available, we are contacting our highest-risk patients first.

How long after COVID exposure are you contagious?

It is generally accepted that patients with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19 may be contagious for up to ten days after the onset of symptoms. Patients with more severe cases may be contagious for up to 20 days. If you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms and/or have received a positive COVID-19 test, it is vital that you remain isolated as much as possible for the recommended period of time to avoid infecting others.

How to avoid getting COVID-19

Helpful tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • Get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is shown to be safe and effective
  • Practice social distancing
  • Avoid large gatherings
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces regularly
  • Do not share food/drinks/utensils with others
  • Avoid physical contact with those outside your household

Help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Denton and Collin counties

As more and more people around the world continue to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we are all hopeful for what’s to come. In the meantime, however, we must continue to do everything possible to prevent the further spread of the virus. At Health Services of North Texas, we are committed to helping our patients get the information, testing, care, and other services they need during COVID-19. Whether you need a COVID-19 test because you are displaying symptoms or you are due for your routine appointment, we are here for you. Call your convenient Denton, Wylie, or Plano office to schedule your visit today!