Q. Why do I feel sick for two days even after testing negative for COVID-19?

Answered by
Dr. Basuki Nath Bhagat
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 10, 2022

Hello doctor,

I have been sick recently for two whole days and have symptoms that are flu-like or COVID-like. I took the test, but it turned out to be negative, but I am still feeling very ill, so I am guessing that I have the flu. What do I do if I cannot go back to work due to all the symptoms I am experiencing? How many days should I take off because I put myself on Sedgwick leave so I could recover? Kindly help.



Welcome to

I understand your concern. It is good to read that the COVID-19 test turned out negative. Most probably, you would be having symptoms like body ache, headache, sore throat, fever, dry cough, etc. Similar symptoms are observed in COVID-19 also, but you have done RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) for COVID-19, and it is negative. So most probably, it is flu. I would like to know the following:

1) Do you have symptoms like breathing difficulty, chest pain, and severe muscle pain

2) What is the SpO2 (peripheral oxygen saturation) level at rest?

3) Are you taking any antiviral medicine to treat the flu?

I would also suggest you the following:

1) Take plenty of rest.

2) Maintain adequate hydration all the time by taking water, juices, etc.

3) Take pain reliever medicine like tablet Paracetamol for body ache and fever.

4) Keep checking SpO2 level and keep yourself in a well-ventilated room. The above measures are enough for most individuals to recover from the flu.

5) But if necessary, take polymerase chain reaction test for flu (influenza) and necessary medications accordingly to treat flu.

I hope you get well soon.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for the reply. How long should I stay off work? Kindly help.



Welcome back to

I understand your concern. You have mentioned that you are experiencing symptoms but did not mention what symptoms you are having and how severe it is, and I hope it is mild symptoms. Accordingly, most of the symptoms usually resolve in seven days. I suggest you stay atleast a minimum of seven days off work. If your symptoms are mild, hopefully, you will recover in the upcoming seven days with some symptoms like cough, little fatigue may still be present afterward, and with adequate rest, hydration, etc., it will clear away. But if you are experiencing severe symptoms now or if symptoms persist even after seven days. I suggest you take PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for flu and antiviral medicine, as it will help to shorten the duration of symptoms. You can follow up in another three to four days to know the progress of your health.

I hope you get well soon.

Thank you.

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