COVID-19 is a contagious disease caused by a virus discovered in 2019. It most often causes respiratory symptoms that can feel like a cold, flu or pneumonia. Sometimes, it can affect other parts of your body. Most people have mild symptoms, but some people can get very sick.1 Fortunately, COVID-19 vaccines are a safe, effective way to help prevent serious illness.2

Let’s learn more about COVID-19 symptoms, testing and vaccines. Sign in to your health plan account or call the number on your member ID card to find information about how some member benefits may have changed with the end of the public health emergency on May 11, 2023.

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COVID-19 symptoms 

You may experience a wide range of symptoms from COVID-19. Your symptoms may vary based on your vaccination status and the COVID-19 variant you have. (Viruses change over time to create new versions called variants.) Symptoms typically appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms may include the following.3

  • Fever or chills

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headache

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Sore throat

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Diarrhea

The list doesn’t include all possible symptoms. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) symptoms of COVID-19 page for the most recent information.

Testing for COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are an important part of protecting your health and your loved ones. They are safe, effective and teach our immune system to fight the virus that causes COVID-19.1 Many providers offer COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, including retail pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other health systems. Most UnitedHealthcare plans include COVID-19 vaccines and boosters at no additional cost at network providers, as part of your preventive care benefits. Sign in to your health plan account to view your coverage details. 

COVID-19 safety and protection

If you tested positive for COVID-19, were exposed to the virus or want to know the most recent guidelines for isolation and protecting yourself and others from getting sick, view the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses.

What should I know about long COVID?

While most people get over COVID-19 within a few weeks of illness, some people can experience long-term effects from their infection known as Post-COVID Conditions (PCC) or Long COVID. These conditions can include a wide range of ongoing health problems that can last weeks, months or years. Vaccination can help reduce your chances of developing Long COVID. Visit the CDC website to learn more about Long COVID.