Stay Home When Sick

This information outlines how long to stay home if you're sick with a respiratory illness such as COVID-19, flu and RSV. It also outlines how long to stay home from school and child care settings.

Guidance may differ for those who work in highest risk settings such as a hospital, long-term care home or retirement home. Employees should speak with their employer and follow workplace guidance for return to work.

Other illnesses may have different guidance for how long you should stay home for. Follow the direction of Public Health or your health care provider.

How long to stay home

Respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, flu and RSV can cause similar symptoms. It can be hard to know what you may have based on just symptoms alone.

Staying home when you're sick is one of the best ways to prevent spreading illness to others.

If you're sick, stay home until all of the following apply to you:

  • You do not have a fever, without the use of fever reducing medication; and
  • Your symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if you had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea); and
  • You do not develop any additional symptoms

Immunocompromised and COVID-19

If you're immunocompromised and test positive for COVID-19 or have not been tested yet, stay home for 10 days from when your symptoms started or from the date of the positive COVID-19 test, whichever is earlier.

If you test negative, follow the how long to stay home guidance.


Symptoms of a respiratory illness may include:

  • Fever / chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose / nasal congestion
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Extreme weakness and tiredness
  • Diarrhea or vomiting

Things to remember when you're sick

Other resources

Page Feedback Did you find what you were looking for today?