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  • What should you do if you are an adult/adolescent with newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms?

What should you do if you are an adult/adolescent with newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms?

If you have newly-arisen respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or decreased general condition, you should stay home. Adolescents and adults should have a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school or work.

If you have newly-arisen respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or decreased general condition, you should stay home. Adolescents and adults should have a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school or work.

Illustration: NIPH
Illustration: NIPH

Symptoms of respiratory tract infections can begin with vague symptoms such as headache and blocked nose or more classic influenza-like symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and decreased general condition. The symptoms may be caused by COVID-19.

It is especially important that you stay at home with the first symptoms of an acute respiratory tract infection, as you are most contagious the first few days with symptoms. Vague symptoms can be difficult to interpret, but testing for SARS-CoV-2 is recommended before going to school/work. 

Advice for adolescents or adults with newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms

  • Stay at home
  • You should be tested for coronavirus
  • Testing for SARS-CoV-2 should be arranged by the public sector, either as a self-test provided by the municipality or at a test centre using a PCR test or rapid antigen test.
  • Those you live with do not have to stay at home, even if they work in the health service.
  • If you are defined as a close contact with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you experience symptoms, stay at home and take a test.
  • It is free for everyone staying in Norway to test for COVID-19 at municipal test centres. This also applies to people without a social security number (without legal residence / undocumented migrants). Healthcare professionals have a duty of confidentiality and cannot pass on information about you and your health.
    More information on testing and health care for people without legal residence in several languages (Helsenorge)

If you are sick and need medical attention, or need health advice, contact your doctor by telephone or online. 

  • If you need more acute medical help and cannot reach your doctor, call the emergency out-of-hours clinic (116 117).  
  • For acute, life-threatening illness, call 113. 

About your coronavirus test

Both self-testing with rapid antigen tests at home or testing at a test centre can be used. Rapid antigen tests give a result within half an hour and PCR tests usually give results within 1-2 days.

If you are going to use a rapid antigen test, it is recommended to use tests that are clinically evaluated and recommended by the EU for use in the pandemic.

Contact a doctor if you become ill or need medical help while waiting for an answer.

If you have a positive COVID-19 test result

  • With a positive result you shall be in isolation.
  • A positive self-test should be confirmed at a test centre
  • You should inform your municipality about your test result

See advice to those who are isolated:

If you have a negative COVID-19 test result

  • With vague symptoms, you can go to school/work on the same day, but if you feel worse/ have more obvious symptoms, you should go home and consider taking another test. Employees in the health and care services should follow the advice here: Bruk av personlig beskyttelsesutstyr ved normal hverdag med økt beredskap
  • If the symptoms disappear completely after a day, you can also return to work, school, use public transport, etc.
  • In case of persistent symptoms, stay at home until you feel better, the symptoms are in decline and you have been fever-free for 24 hours. In most cases, you should stay home for a few days. Mild residual symptoms such as runny nose, mucus, hoarseness and some coughing are fine.
  • In case of more severe or persistent symptoms, consult a doctor, including whether testing for other respiratory tract infections is necesary.

Information for the general public

For general advice about coronavirus: our topic page and helsenorge.no 

Information helpline for questions about coronavirus: 815 55 015 (weekdays 08-15.30)

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has answers to many frequently asked questions about travelling to Norway, and a helpline 23351600 that is open on weekdays from 10:00-14:00. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also has answers to many frequently asked questions.

If you need acute medical attention, contact your doctor. If you cannot reach your doctor, contact the emergency out-of-hours clinic on 116117. If life is in danger, call 113.


14.10.2021: Added link with advice for employees in the health and care sector.

30.09.2021: Updated advice for adults / adolescents to test for SARS-CoV-2 in case of vague symptoms, but in case of negative test you can go to work / school the same day. In case of worsening, one should go home and consider a new test. Advice regarding children can be found in a separate chapter.

25.09.2021: Revised and adapted advice about normal daily life with increased preparedness.

09.09.2021: Some clarifications in the text.

31.08.2021: Added points about rapid antigen tests

01.07.2021: Removed sentence about waiting quarantine after change in COVID-19 regulations

18.06.2021: Minor text revision. Added If you are in quarantine as a close contact, testing is recommended even if you have no symptoms. Then those you live with must be in waiting quarantine until a negative test result is available.

11.05.2021: New paragraph about after having Covid-19

14.02.2021: Removed the specific symptoms in "What should you do while waiting for your test results?" and emphasised that the main rule is to stay at home.

08.02.2021 Added section "If you have symptoms after coronavirus vaccination"

04.02.2021: Added text about testing and treatment for people who are staying in Norway

07.01.2021: Clarified that all with suspicion of COVID-19 should be tested

18.12.2020: Changed sentence from "If you are in doubt that you are ill, go to koronasjekk.no" to "If you suspect you are infected you should be tested"

01.12.2020: Adjusted title and restructured content in article

14.09.2020: Updated text according to Norwegian version. Edited text in "when you have a respiratory tract infection". Removed "when household members have respiratory tract infection" and "when children have respiratory tract infection" because there was much repetition.

08.09.2020: Changes in "When a household member has an acute respiratory tract infection"; inserted a lenk to "When you have an acute respiratory tract infection" for details on how to act if household member develop symptoms of respiratory tract infection.

04.09.2020: Changes to paragraph about "when you have a respiratory tract infection": It is recommended that anyone with newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms without a known cause should be tested, and they should stay home until they receive a test result. With a negative test result, you can return to work/ school when you are in good general condition (i.e. you feel well and have no fever), even though you have some symptoms.  

28.08.2020: Section about Children with respiratory tract infections has been updated.

27.08.2020: Changed from "children under 10 years" to "Children of primary school age or younger." Added that "children can return to school/childcare when their general condition is good /back to normal for the child."

24.08.2020: Updated to reflect the current Norwegian version

24.06.2020: Replaced the advice about "stay at home until a day after the symptoms have passed" to "stay at home until the symptoms have passed" for people with respiratory tract infection symptoms.

Shortened first paragraph under "When you have an acute respiratory tract infection."

General changes as per Norwegian text.

Updated according to changes in Norwegian text. Changes throughout.


Added link to test criteria page which is now translated to English. Removed the paragraph about the test criteria.


Updated test criteria and added section about "Why can people with symptoms but who are not tested for coronavirus go back to work after one symptom-free day, while people with confirmed COVID-19 must wait for seven symptom-free days?"