A combination of certain symptoms mean that you have COVID-19 for certain.


False. Symptoms vary in different people. Only an antigen test can verify if you have COVID-19.


A message on Facebook, claiming to come from the pathology department of an unnamed hospital, presents a series of symptoms it claims definitely indicate different illnesses, including COVID-19.

This is false, COVID-19 is known to express different symptoms in different people. Only a medical antigen test (Do I have the coronavirus?) or antibody test (Have I had the coronavirus?) can determine what particular symptoms mean. According to the NHS, most people will develop mild symptoms but common symptoms of COVID-19 are a high temperature and fever with a new, continuous dry cough. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), other observed symptoms include:

  • aches and pains
  • sore throat
  • diarrhoea
  • conjunctivitis
  • headache
  • loss of taste or smell
  • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes

The WHO also advises those with serious symptoms of difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain or pressure or loss of speech or movement to seek immediate medical attention if you have serious symptoms. On average it takes 5–6 days from when someone is infected with the coronavirus for symptoms to show, however it can take up to 14 days. 

Messages like this that seemingly come from a reputable source can spread disinformation quickly on social media. Always pass to consider checking the source before sharing. If you feel unwell then should seek medical advice online or over the telephone.


NHS: Check if you have coronavirus symptoms

WHO: Coronavirus symptoms

UK Government: Apply for a coronavirus test

Origins of Claim


“Symptoms to understand

Dry cough + Sneeze = AIR POLLUTION

Cold + mucus + sneeze + runny nose = COMMON COLD 

Cough + mucus + sneeze + runny nose + body ache + weakness + light fever = FLU

Dry cough + sneeze + body ache + weakness + high fever + difficulty breathing = CORONAVIRUS

(Pathology Department)

Please make this message available to as many people as possible because most of us are scared of simple cough even.”