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What to do after exposure to COVID-19

COVID-19 exposure; COVID-19 exposure - what to do


Face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19
How to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19


If you have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, you can spread the virus even if you don't show any symptoms. It is important to take precautions to protect others from the virus. You should take these steps whether you are vaccinated or not and even if you have had COVID-19 in the past.

Take Precautions Right Away

You can spread COVID-19 before you show symptoms. Some people with the illness never have symptoms, but can still spread the disease. However, there are ways to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. Being vaccinated helps protect you from getting and spreading COVID-19. Being vaccinated can also help protect you from serious illness if you do get the virus.

If you do get COVID-19, learn what to do when you are sick.

When to Call the Doctor

You should contact your health care provider:

Call 911 or your local emergency number if you have:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Respiratory guidance. Updated March 1, 2024. Accessed April 19, 2024.


Review Date: 2/22/2023  

Reviewed By: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 04/26/2024.

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