Managing your COVID-19 symptoms at home

Last Updated: 11 Jul 2022 4:37pm

Most people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations who have COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and be able to recover at home.

If you have tested positive to COVID-19 you will need to isolate at home or in private accommodation for at least 7 days. See isolation for more information.

See the 7-step checklist on what to do if you test positive to COVID-19.

You will receive an SMS within 24 hours after registering your positive RAT test result or receiving notification of a positive PCR result.

This SMS will contain a survey. Your response will help Public Health understand the level of care you might need based on your personal preference and circumstances, and on how unwell you feel.

The survey will also ask if you would like to be enrolled in COVID@homeplus. Enrolling in COVID@homeplus is optional.

COVID-19 treatments

Some people are high-risk of severe illness from COVID-19. These people are eligible for antiviral medication, or simply ‘antivirals.’ Find out more about COVID-19 treatments.

If you are high-risk, it is important you seek antiviral treatment as soon as possible to ensure it is most effective in treating your illness. To access antiviral treatment, contact your GP or usual health care provider in the first instance or call the COVID@homeplus team.

Antiviral medicines for COVID-19 treatment in the home must be given within 5 days of symptoms starting. It is a good idea to know if you are eligible for antiviral medication, so that you can seek medical assistance early and be able to access treatment quickly.

Find out more about COVID-19 treatments and if you are at risk of severe illness speak with your GP or healthcare provider.

Understand your symptoms

As with any illness, even if you’re feeling well or only slightly unwell, it’s important to monitor your symptoms and understand when you might need to get help.

It is very important to monitor symptoms when you or someone you care for gets COVID-19, particularly if you feel they are getting worse.

Mild to moderate symptoms

You can usually safely stay at home if you or the person you are caring for has any of these symptoms:

Adults (16 years of age and over)

  • Fever
  • feeling more tired than usual
  • dry cough
  • loss of appetite or nausea
  • runny or blocked nose
  • sore throat
  • loss of or change in taste and smell
  • aches and pains
  • headache

Children (15 years of age and under)

  • Fever
  • feeling more tired than usual
  • dry cough
  • loss of appetite or nausea
  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • loss of or change in taste and smell
  • irritability

Someone with mild symptoms should be able to speak in full sentences and move around the house to do normal activities without becoming breathless.

If you or someone you are caring for is experiencing mild symptoms you/they are unlikely to need medical attention. You should monitor these symptoms and:

  • rest
  • drink plenty of water (aim to drink 2 to 2.5 litres a day)
  • eat healthy food
  • take medicines - as discussed with your doctor or pharmacist, or medicines that you usually already take.

Worsening symptoms

Contact your usual GP or health care provider in the first instance, or call the COVID@homeplus care team on 1800 973 363 if you or the person you are caring for develops any of the following symptoms:

Adults (16 years of age and over)

  • mild shortness of breath, or coughing, when moving around
  • severe muscle aches and pains
  • little or no urination
  • vomiting or diarrhoea

Children (15 years of age and under)

  • headache
  • vomiting, diarrhoea
  • poor or no appetite; reduced intake of food or fluids
  • mild breathing difficulties

If you feel that the symptoms are getting worse, something is wrong, and you are concerned the ill person is getting worse call your GP, heath care provider or the COVID@homeplus team.

Serious symptoms

Some symptoms are serious and should not be ignored. When severe symptoms occur in COVID-19 patients their health can deteriorate rapidly.

If symptoms worsen especially if they get worse quickly, or the following symptoms develop, go straight to hospital or call triple zero (000). You must let the operator know you have COVID-19 so the paramedics know how to treat you safely.

Adults (16 years of age and over)

  • central or crushing chest pain
  • unconsciousness or a seizure (fit)
  • severe difficulty breathing, or turning blue
  • severe bleeding or inability to control bleeding with pressure
  • slurred or sudden inability to move or speak, or sudden facial drooping
  • or, a severe accident

Children (15 years of age and under)

  • working hard to breathe e.g., lots of effort with fast breathing or long pauses between breaths
  • very sleepy e.g., difficult to wake or confused
  • very dehydrated e.g., less wet nappies or going to the toilet less than usual, or extremely thirsty
  • severe chest or abdominal pain that does not go away after pain relief
  • persistent dizziness or headache
  • persistent fever that lasts more than five days, or a fever in a baby under 3 months old
  • pain or swelling in the legs.