Coronavirus symptoms: loss or change of smell or taste added to symptoms to self-isolate with

18 May 2020

The loss or change in sense of smell or taste have been added to the list of coronavirus symptoms. If you experience this symptom, or a new continuous cough, or a high fever, you need to immediately isolate at home for seven days. Those you live with will need to isolate for 14 days.

Updated list of coronavirus symptoms

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual
  • Loss or change in your normal sense of smell or taste.

What to do if you or someone you live with experiences these symptoms

To protect others, everyone you live with must stay at home, this is called self-isolation

  1. do not leave your home for any reason – if you need food or medicine, order it online or by phone, or ask someone to deliver it to your home
  2. do not have visitors in your home – including friends and family
  3. do any exercise at home – you can use your garden, if you have one.

How long to self-isolate

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, self-isolate for 7 days.

After 7 days:

  • if you do not have a high temperature, you can stop self-isolating
  • if you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal

You do not need to keep self-isolating if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for weeks after the infection has gone.

If someone you live with has symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than one person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms while self-isolating – you should self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms started, even if it means you're self-isolating for longer than 14 days.

If you do not get symptoms while self-isolating – you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

How to look after your symptoms at home

If your symptoms are mild, you can usually look after yourself at home.

For advice about easing your symptoms and what to do if they get worse, see how to treat coronavirus symptoms at home

After self-isolation

When you stop self-isolating, it's important to follow the advice on social distancing.

This means you should stay at home as much as possible. But you can go out to work (if you cannot work from home) and for things like getting home and exercise.

For more information about self-isolating, including testing if you are eligible, and getting an isolation note for your employer, see the NHS website