graphic image of covid masks on a yellow background

COVID-19 symptoms:

important things to know.

For the foreseeable future, COVID-19 will be part of our lives. Many medical professionals now include it with colds and flu as medical conditions we just “have to figure out how to cope with.” And most of them have started calling it “cold, flu, and COVID season.”1

Let’s take a closer look at the common symptoms of this respiratory virus and what MDLIVE doctors can do to answer your questions regarding COVID-19 treatment.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have recently been exposed to someone with COVID-19, MDLIVE board-certified doctors can provide guidance.

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Get the facts on COVID-19.

We spoke with Dr. Vontrelle Roundtree, MDLIVE Interim Chief Medical Officer, on recognizing common COVID-19 symptoms, what to do if you experience symptoms, and available treatments, including vaccines.

Common symptoms of COVID-19.

Symptoms usually appear 2-14 days after you’ve been exposed to the virus and can include:

a person breathing

Breathing difficulties



running nose

Congestion or runny nose

loss of sense of smell

Loss of taste or smell



muscle pain

Muscle or body aches

Toilet paper hangs next to a toilet



Nausea or vomiting

A fatigued person


sore throat

Sore throat

temperature rising

Fever or chills

Other symptoms are possible and can range from mild to severe. People with underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease and diabetes are at higher risk of experiencing more severe symptoms.2

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Dr. Roundtree’s perspective

“The symptoms of COVID-19, the flu, and colds can be similar. MDLIVE doctors can help you determine what is causing your symptoms and what your next course of action should be. It also helps your recovery and can prevent you from spreading illness to those around you. Check your symptoms with this MDLIVE guide.

Variants and vaccines.

As viruses spread over time, they commonly mutate into different forms called variants. Variants can be more or less contagious and dangerous than the original virus.3

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects that the Omicron variant of the virus will continue to spread and likely lead to new variants and subvariants.4

Vaccines, while they do not prevent you from getting COVID-19, or transmitting it to others, can protect you from severe symptoms or hospitalization. Dr. Roundtree strongly encourages following the CDC’s recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.

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MDLIVE can help in as little as 15 minutes.

If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19, MDLIVE board-certified doctors can:

One hand helps the other

Help you determine if you have a cold, flu, or COVID-19.


Answer your questions about COVID-19.

a checklist on a clipboard

Discuss guidelines for testing and isolating.

a hand holds a medical bag

Review your treatment options and prescribe the antiviral, Paxlovid, when medically appropriate.5

  • 5MDLIVE doctors can prescribe the antiviral, Paxlovid, in the treatment of COVID-19 to patients ages 18 and older when medically appropriate. MDLIVE doctors cannot prescribe Molnupiravir or other medications beyond Paxlovid in the treatment of COVID-19.
a collection of medications

Help provide relief if you have cold-like or flu-like symptoms, with prescriptions, if necessary.6

  • 6Prescriptions are available at the physician’s discretion when medically necessary. A renewal of an existing prescription can also be provided when your regular physician is unavailable, depending on the type of medication.

MDLIVE doctors cannot order or provide COVID-19 tests, but they can answer your questions and help you determine if your symptoms are severe enough to seek in-person medical attention.

What treatments are available for COVID-19?

Dr. Roundtree points out that if you do contract the virus, you will likely be just fine recovering at home, and offered these suggestions for managing your mild-moderate COVID symptoms:

Treatment options include:


  • FDA-approved antiviral (Paxlovid) for adults 18+ to prevent hospitalization or death8
  • Acetaminophen or NSAIDS to alleviate fever and body aches
  • Nasal decongestants and menthol rub for congestion
  • Throat lozenges
  • Cough drops
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  • 8MDLIVE doctors can prescribe the antiviral, Paxlovid, in the treatment of COVID-19 to patients ages 18 and older when medically appropriate. MDLIVE doctors cannot prescribe Molnupiravir or other medications beyond Paxlovid in the treatment of COVID-19.

At-home things to try:

Prescription treatments, besides Paxlovid, are unable to be prescribed by MDLIVE doctors.

Can you prevent yourself from getting COVID?

While you cannot eliminate your chances of getting COVID-19, the CDC recommends the following tips to reduce your risk:9

  • Get vaccinated.
  • Avoid contact with people with COVID-19.
  • Social distance in public.
  • Avoid public places with poor ventilation.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Disinfect often-touched surfaces regularly.
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How you can get help from home.

MDLIVE is an affordable alternative to urgent care centers, walk-in clinics, and ERs.

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Talk to a doctor in 15 minutes or less, or schedule an appointment that works best for you


More convenient

Get reliable care 24/7/365 by phone or video



Avoid germ-filled waiting rooms

Our board-certified doctors have an average of 15 years of experience and stay up-to-date on the latest CDC recommendations and breakthroughs in caring for COVID-19 patients. They also provide care for more than 80 common conditions including colds, flu, allergies, and more.

Dr. Roundtree’s perspective

“If you experience any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, you should talk with a doctor. If you have severe symptoms, especially difficulty breathing, please seek local, in-person medical attention immediately.”

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