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When you are sick or suspect that you have COVID-19 disease
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- When should sick children stay home from childcare or primary school? (downloadable flowchart)
- When should adolescents and adults stay home from school/work and be tested for COVID-19? (downloadable flowchart)
The most common symptoms for COVID-19 are also common for other respiratory tract infections like colds and influenza. Many have a cough and / or fever. It is also common to have loss of sense of smell or taste, headache, lethargy and aching muscles. Some people go on to develop breathing difficulties.
People are most contagious in the days before and just after symptoms appear. This applies to SARS-CoV-2 and a range of other respiratory tract viruses.
See advice for children:
Advice when you suspect you are infected
- Stay at home if you are unwell/ have newly-arisen respiratory tract symptoms (fever, cough, difficulties in breathing, headache, lethargy, loss of sense of smell and taste, muscle aches, sore throat, etc.)
- You should be tested for coronavirus if you have newly arisen respiratory tract symptoms.
- You should be tested, even if you do not have symptoms, if you are a close contact to someone who is confirmed to be infected.
- You will find practical information about how, where and when you can be tested on your municipality's website. See the section "About your coronavirus test" below for information on what happens after you have taken 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 electronically.
- 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.
Symptoms of COVID-19, colds and allergies
If you are unsure if you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested. Symptoms of COVID-19 can be difficult to distinguish from other respiratory infections and allergies. This applies, for example, to sore throat, stuffy / runny nose and sneezing. All adults and adolescents should therefore have a low threshold for testing.
The table below can help you to distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory tract infections and from allergies.
|Loss of sense of smell and/or taste||Common||Sometimes|
|Sore throat||Sometimes (common among children)||Rare (but itching may be present)|
|Runny or blocked nose||Sometimes||Common|
If you have symptoms after coronavirus vaccination
Reactions in the first 3 days after you are vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine.
|Symptoms consistent with suspected vaccine side effects
Fever, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue
Stay at home until you no longer have a fever and feel better.
If the symptoms last over 48 hours, consider being tested for coronavirus
Symptoms that are not typical vaccine side effects:
Cough, sore throat, runny nose, difficulty breathing, lost of taste/smell
|Stay at home and arrange to be tested|
About your coronavirus test
Some tests can give results within half an hour (rapid antigen tests), other tests (PCR) you usually get results within 1-2 days.
Contact a doctor if you become ill or need medical help while waiting for an answer.
What should you do while waiting for your test results?
- If you have been tested because you have symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, lost of taste/smell), the main rule is to stay home until you have received your test results. This means, do not go to work or school, do not take public transport or visit public places, and keep an extra distance from everyone. Those you live with do not have to stay at home, even if they work in the healthcare service.
- If you are in quarantine and have been tested because you have common symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell), follow the rules for isolation. The rules for isolation are stricter than quarantine rules. Those you live with must be in quarantine until you have received your test result.
- If you are in quarantine as a close contact, testing is recommended even if you have no symptoms.
- If you have taken the coronavirus test without having COVID-19 symptoms and without being exposed to infection (not in quarantine), you do not need to stay home until you have received a test result. This could be, for example, if you take the test because you are involved in a research project, are going to visit an institution, or need to take a test to be able to travel.
How to get your test results
After 1-2 days, you can find the answer to your test on Helsenorge.no:
- Test results (Helsenorge.no)
If you have coronavirus, it will say that the result is positive. If you do not have coronavirus, it will say that the result is negative.
If the test shows that you have coronavirus (positive test result)
If the test shows that you have coronavirus, you shall be in isolation and the municipality will call you to arrange what we call "contact tracing".
Contact tracing is important to be able to stop the infection. Everyone you live with and everyone you have been close to must therefore be in quarantine.
The municipality has a duty of confidentiality. It is important that you understand each other, so ask if you have any questions. You can ask for an interpreter if it is difficult to understand the language. The interpreter service is free.
If the test shows that you do not have coronavirus (negative test result)
- If you took the test because you had symptoms of coronavirus, you can go back to work or school when you have no fever and are feeling well. A slight cough or similar that remains is OK.
- If you took the test while in quarantine, you must complete the quarantine, even if you feel well, unless the test was taken more than 7 days after exposure, then quarantine can end when the negative test result is available.
- Information about your coronavirus test - information letter translated into 40 languages.
If you have had COVID-19
When you have finished the isolation period, you are no longer considered contagious. Isolation also ends in those cases where others in your household are still in isolation or in quarantine.
Although most people get mild respiratory symptoms, some have persistent symptoms such as loss of / altered sense of taste and smell, residual cough, shortness of breath and decreased general condition, even after isolation period has ended. These symptoms usually go away on their own after a while. In the beginning, it can be good to alternate between rest and gentle physical activity, such as going for a walk.
A few have persistent symptoms over a long period of time. If you have problems that limit your everyday life and do not improve, you should contact your GP.
If you have difficulty breathing, or feel very ill, you should contact the emergency room 116 117, alternatively 113 if you need immediate help.
Information for the general public
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.