If you get new COVID-19 symptoms
For most people reinfection with COVID-19 is not likely to be more severe than previous infections. But you can experience different symptoms. Every time you get COVID-19, it increases your risk of getting long COVID and other medical issues.
If you do get COVID-19 again you will have access to the same advice, help and support you would receive for a new COVID-19 infection.
28 days or fewer since a previous infection
If you get COVID-19 symptoms again and it has been 28 days or fewer since your previous infection:
- if you are at low risk of serious illness, you do not need to take a RAT
- we recommend you stay home until you are recovered.
If you have an underlying health condition or have symptoms of COVID-19 that are getting worse, you should get advice from a health practitioner or Healthline on 0800 358 5453.
29 days or more since a previous infection
If you have COVID-19 symptoms again and it has been 29 days or more since a previous infection, you should test with a RAT.
If it is positive, you should stay at home and follow the same advice as for your first infection. We recommended you isolate for at least 5 days, and follow the advice for people who have COVID-19.
If your test is negative:
- your symptoms could be another illness, such as a cold or flu
- and your symptoms continue, you should repeat a RAT 48 hours later
- if your result is still negative, stay home until you have recovered.
If someone you live with gets COVID-19
If you have had COVID-19 within the last 28 days, and someone in your household tests positive, you are not considered to be a Household Contact and you do not need to test.
If it has been 29 days or longer since your COVID-19 infection and someone in your household tests positive, then you should test daily for 5 days.
Long COVID describes the symptoms that continue or develop after the initial COVID-19 symptoms. This is usually longer than 12 weeks after a person is first infected.
Most people who get COVID-19 recover from the acute signs and symptoms within 2 to 4 weeks. And they should be back to all activities they were doing before COVID-19 by 12 weeks. However, some people report a range of symptoms beyond the standard time of recovery.
Symptoms of long COVID can persist for weeks or sometimes months. For support with the management and treatment of long COVID, seek help from your doctor or healthcare team.
Keep up healthy habits
Even if you have had COVID-19 or are vaccinated, you still need to keep up healthy habits. It is possible to get COVID-19 again.
Stay up to date with your vaccinations
Having COVID-19 does not provide the same level of immunity as getting vaccinated. We also know that your protection from the primary course of the vaccine decreases over time.
To keep your immunity levels high, stay up to date with your vaccinations — including boosters. This will lower your chances of getting very sick from COVID-19 and ending up in hospital.
You should wait 6 months after testing positive before getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
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