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Symptoms

Last Updated: January 10, 2022

On this page, you will find information on what to do if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms.

Important

  • Faculty, staff, postdocs, and students must notify Stanford via Health Check when they:
    • Experience COVID-like symptoms
    • Are a close contact to someone who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 virus)
    • Are awaiting COVID-19 test results, due to exposure or symptoms
    • Test positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 virus)

Note: This is required when on campus within the previous two weeks or if expected to be on campus.

COVID-like Symptoms

Faculty, staff, postdocs, and students are required to notify Stanford of any COVID-like symptoms, via Health Check. This requirement is in place for those who were on campus within the previous two weeks or who are expected to be on campus.

As described by the CDC, people with COVID-19 can exhibit a wide range of symptoms.  This includes symptoms that are pronounced and associated with difficulty breathing, as well as those that are less severe and cold/allergy-like.  

Symptoms of Omicron most commonly appear within 2-5 days after exposure to the virus.  In general, these tend to be less severe in those who have recently been ‘boosted.’ Common symptoms include a sore or scratchy throat, stuffy nose, and fatigue with muscle aches.  Fever, headache, and coughing/chest congestion may also occur.

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, and have been on campus within the previous two weeks or are expected to be on campus, submit Health Check and include your symptoms, last date on campus, and buildings visited. 

If you have milder symptoms and think you have been exposed, even if Health Check permits you to work on-site, you should remain quarantined/work from home until you meet these conditions:

1. No fever or significant illness for at least 48 hrs,
2. AND your symptoms are improving,
3. AND you tested COVID-negative after symptom onset.

Rapid antigen tests, the 15-minute home tests, can be very effective in diagnosing COVID in people with symptoms, and a positive rapid test should be treated as a true positive.  A single negative rapid test does not completely rule-out COVID, as it appears to be a less sensitive test early in the course of infection.  That noted, a negative rapid test is reassuring about your chance of being a meaningful infectious risk to others at the time of your test.  If you have ongoing symptoms but test negative on a rapid test, you should submit a PCR/Color test, or repeat a second rapid test in 24 hours.

Currently rapid tests are in high demand, although availability should improve as production and distribution increases.  For additional information about testing availability, or if you have questions or concerns about your symptoms, please contact your regular healthcare provider.

If your symptoms are escalating, including progressive shortness of breath, do not wait for your regular doctor to respond and seek emergency care if needed.

Additional information

COVID Testing

For information about Stanford’s COVID-19 surveillance testing programs, refer to these webpages:

Exposure To Covid

For information on what to do if you have been exposed to someone with COVID, please review this guidance posted on HealthAlerts.

Testing Positive For Covid

For information on what to do if you test POSITIVE for COVID, please review this guidance posted on HealthAlerts.

Stanford University Medical Support Team (For Faculty, staff, and postdocs)

Please note that both Health Check and the linked pages above should provide the most rapidly accessible guidance on COVID-related inquiries.  

For specific questions on your situation, you can also submit a Health Check Help Ticket or contact the Stanford University Occupational Health Center.

Stanford University Medical Support Team (For Students)

Please review the Vaden Health Center and Student Affairs websites for information on student support during the COVID-19 outbreak.