If you’ve previously had Covid-19, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get infected with the virus again.
But how soon can you catch Covid after your previous infection and can you get it twice in a month?
Here’s what you need to know.
Can you get Covid-19 more than once?
Yes, it is possible to get Covid more than once.
When someone catches Covid, their immune system will generate a response that helps them to fight off the virus if they are exposed to it again, but it is possible that a person will become infected with coronavirus more than once.
How soon can you get Covid after your first infection?
It’s not clear how long this initial immune response lasts after the first infection with Covid, and it’s likely to vary between people.
According to the Lancet, a memory B-cell response to Covid evolves between 1-3 and 6-2 months after infection, which is consistent with longer-term protection.
Covid reinfection is likely to vary between individuals and depend on the strain of Covid.
The NHS website says you should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and either:
- you have a high temperature
- you do not feel well enough to go to work or do your normal activities
You should also take extra care to avoid close contact with anyone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from Covid.
You can go back to your normal activities when you feel better or do not have a high temperature.
The symptoms of Covid include:
- a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- a headache
- a sore throat
- a blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
Can I pass the virus on if I don’t have symptoms?
Anyone who is infected with Covid could pass on the virus, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms or not.
Many people who get Covid never experience symptoms, but the main way of passing on coronavirus is through droplets in the air - such as coughing, sneezing or talking, which means that even if you don’t have a cough, fever or other symptoms, you can still pass it on to people around you.
What about Covid vaccines?
The best protection against coronavirus for yourself and others is the Covid vaccine.
According to the NHS, research has shown the vaccines help:
- reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from Covid-19
- reduce your risk of catching or spreading Covid-19
- protect against Covid-19 variants
The first dose should give you some protection from three or four weeks after you’ve had it, but you need two doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection.
There is a chance you might still get or spread Covid-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it’s important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading Covid-19, the NHS said.