Covid-19. Symptoms, duration of isolation, contagiousness… What to do when you are infected?

Since the beginning of September, France has been going through its eighth wave of Covid-19. If the Omicron variant is still in the majority, it is indeed its BA.5 sub-variant, which is the source of a large part of the current contaminations. This succession of versions of the virus and the resulting rules continue to raise questions from our readers.

“I have Covid-19. How do I know when I will be negative? How long are we infected? »wonders Christine.

Has the emergence of the BA.5 subvariant changed the rules to follow in the event of a positive test? How long does the infection last? Are the symptoms the same as with the previous subvariants? West France answers you.

What are the isolation rules?

After a positive test, the procedure to follow is always the same, namely a more or less long isolation, depending on your vaccination situation. People with a complete vaccination schedule (primary vaccination and a booster dose) and children under the age of twelve, vaccinated or not, are required to isolate themselves for seven days. “from the date of the onset of symptoms or the date of the collection of the positive test”specifies the Health Insurance on its website.

Isolation can be interrupted on the fifth day if the person tests negative, with an antigen test or PCR, and if the symptoms have disappeared for 48 hours. Otherwise, it is maintained until the end.The rules are different for those with an incomplete vaccination schedule or who are not vaccinated. The isolation is this time for ten days and the test allowing an early exit is to be carried out on the seventh day.

In any case, whether one is vaccinated or not, no new test is requested at the end of the isolation period. If the symptoms persist, the health authorities advise to contact your doctor. Furthermore, “ it is advisable to wait an additional 48 hours after the disappearance of the fever to terminate [son] isolation », can we read on the site of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Brittany. Wearing a mask and barrier gestures are recommended within seven days of the end of isolation.

Exemptions exist for health professionals who have tested positive, but are asymptomatic, in order to “to ensure continuity of service”. The health insurance invites these people “to contact their establishment”.

What symptoms and what duration of contagiousness?

As Yannick Simonin, virologist and teacher-researcher at the University of Montpellier (Hérault), explained to us in an article published in July, “The main symptoms associated with BA.5 are fairly standard for Omicron: fatigue, cough, fever and headache”. However, the researcher emphasizes a greater probability of “loss of taste and smell […] than with BA.2”as well as “nausea, vomiting and diarrhea at higher frequencies”.

With BA.5, symptoms may last longer. “Around seven days for BA.5 versus four days for previous Omicron sub-variants. »

As for contagiousness, it extends over the first five days of illness. Asked by 20 minutes in July, Doctor Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist and Covid-19 crisis referent doctor at the Raymond-Poincaré hospital in Garches (Hauts-de-Seine), pointed out that a person infected with the virus was “super contaminating about 48 hours after contamination, even before having the first symptoms, and this for three to four days”.

The test carried out on the fifth day of isolation, which we mentioned a little above, is precisely used to check your contagiousness. “If the recommended test at D + 5 is negative and there are no longer any symptoms, the patient is considered to be no longer contagious”continues Dr. Davido.

Finally, don’t worry if you continue to test positive for several days. “ We can still have RNA fragments of viruses in the nasal cells […] However, the screening tests precisely look for portions of the virus, viral RNA, which are proteins capable of being identified by a rapid, antigenic or PCR test.. Hence the tests that can be positive for days », says Doctor François Blanchecotte, president of the Syndicate of Biologists, to our colleagues from 20 minutes .

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