COVID-19 Symptoms & Treatment

close up of woman putting a mask on her face

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, with symptoms that range from mild to severe. Symptoms begin 2-14 days after exposure and have similarities to the flu. 

What are some possible symptoms? 

You may experience one or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Cough 
  • Headache 
  • Sore throat 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever or chills 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle pain 
  • New loss of taste or smell 

What should I do if I have COVID-19 symptoms? 

Anyone with serious symptoms should seek medical attention by calling their doctor or 911. If symptoms are less severe, you should still get tested. Learn more about where and how to get tested here. 

Is there a way to treat COVID-19? 

Treatment is available, but even with newly authorized treatments, there is very limited availability. These treatments will be limited to high-risk people first – those who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised patients who are at high risk for severe disease, hospitalization, or death. DHHS has created a website where people can search for COVID treatments. Visit and search by zip code People can also call 1-888-675-4567 for help finding treatment. (NOTE: Appointments are required at all treatment locations.)

NC DHHS has partnered with StarMed Healthcare to offer free telehealth appointments for people with COVID to get treatment. Appointments are available regardless of insurance status and photo IDs are not required. Oral antiviral pills are available for free. People can visit or call 704-941-6000 (Monday – Sunday, 9:00am – 7:00pm) to set up an appointment. 

Types of treatment: 

  • Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs): Made in a lab to fight a particular infection. Adults and children of any age who are at high risk for severe COVID may be eligible. People who have had symptoms for 7 days or less can start treatment as soon as possible. There is no cost for treatment, but the provider may charge an administrative fee. People should check with their health insurance for more information.
  • Antiviral Prescription Pills: Paxlovid and Molnupiravir can be used to treat mild to moderate COVID in certain high-risk patients age 12 and older. It is available by prescription from doctors and pharmacists and should be given as soon as possible after diagnosis and within 5 days of when symptoms start. 

Need more information?

For more frequently asked questions, visit NCDHHS. If you didn’t find what you need on this page or need more information on local resources, dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162. Our call specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Source: NCDHHS

Last updated 6/1/2023

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