Manage COVID-19 at home

After you have tested positive for COVID-19 you are required to report your test result.

Once registered, it's important to work out what level of care you need to manage your illness. This is based on your risk of developing severe disease and needing to go to hospital.

Use the information below to determine your health risk and what action to take or when to seek medical care.

Manage your health risk

Step 1. Check your risk level

Low risk

  • AGE
  • Less than 70 years
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander less than 30 years
  • and
  • Normally well
  • Not pregnant
  • Not taking regular medication (excluding contraception, HRT)
What to do if you get sick

Medium risk

  • AGE
  • 70 years and over
  • or
  • 50 years of age or over with two medium risk factors
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander aged 30 years or over with two medium risk factors
  • or
  • Pregnant
Medium risk factors
  • Diabetes (type 1 or 2) requiring medication
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) more than 30. Calculate your BMI.
  • Heart: heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy
  • Lung: chronic respiratory disease including COPD, moderate or severe asthma
  • Kidney: chronic kidney disease, kidney failure
  • Liver: liver cirrhosis
  • Living with disability with multiple conditions or frailty but not in residential care
  • Neurological: conditions including stroke, dementia, demyelinating conditions e.g. multiple sclerosis, Guillian-Barre Syndrome
  • Living remotely with reduced access to higher level health care
What to do if you get sick

High risk

  • RISK FACTORS AT ANY AGE
  • Immunosuppressed e.g. blood cancer, HIV, immunosuppressive medications
  • Organ transplant recipient
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Active cancer – chemotherapy or radiotherapy in last 3 months
  • Living in residential aged of disability care
  • Palliative care
  • Pregnant and less than 3 COVID vaccines
  • High dose steroids in the last 3 months
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome
  • Red cell blood disorders e.g. thalassemia and sickle cell disease
What to do if you get sick

Step 2. Follow the advice

Risk levelAdvice
Low risk
How to prepare
  • Keep paracetamol at home.
  • Keep some oral rehydration drinks at home.
  • Know how to contact work or school if unwell.
  • Keep up to date with vaccinations.
If you get sick
Medium risk
How to prepare

Make a plan with your GP every year to discuss:

  • keeping up to date with vaccinations
  • how to best manage COVID-19 and the flu
  • if there are medicines you can take to manage COVID and flu
  • how quickly you need to start taking the medicines if you become sick
  • how to book telehealth appointments.
If you get sick
  • Book a GP telehealth appointment within 72 hours or sooner if symptoms get worse. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications that reduce your severity of illness.
  • Take medicines prescribed by your doctor.
  • Stay at home while sick.
  • Tourists and visitors in remote NT to seek advice from the accommodation provider for local clinical support advice.
High risk
How to prepare

Discuss the following with your specialist and GP:

  • keeping up to date with vaccinations
  • how to best manage COVID-19, the flu and gastro
  • who to contact if you are unwell.
If you get sick
  • Book a GP telehealth appointment as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral medications that reduce your severity of illness and may liaise with hospital specialists.
  • Take medicines prescribed by your doctor.
  • Stay at home while sick.
  • Tourists and visitors in remote NT to seek advice from the accommodation provider for local clinical support advice.

Booking a telehealth appointment

Tell your GP if you are a medium or high risk patient when booking your telehealth appointment. This allows the GP to prioritise patients according to their health risk.

How to manage your symptoms

Everyone who gets COVID-19 will experience it a little differently.

Most people will have a mild illness, recover in a couple of days and feel completely better in a week or 2.

Some people may have no symptoms at all. Those who have up to date vaccinations are less likely to experience severe symptoms. Read more about symptoms of COVID-19.

Most symptoms can be managed with:

  • bed rest
  • regular paracetamol and ibuprofen to relieve pain and fevers
  • throat lozenges for a sore throat
  • staying hydrated with regular water intake.

Continue to take any medications you have been prescribed as usual.

If you are unsure about continuing to take your current medication or treatment, or have any concerns about your health, call your doctor.

You can monitor your symptoms using the symptoms diary PDF (298.8 KB) or use the Healthdirect symptom checker to assess and manage your symptoms.

Call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 for health advice 24 hours a day.

When to seek medical help

You should call Healthdirect if you:

  • feel gradually more unwell or more breathless
  • have difficulty breathing when you stand up or move around
  • feel very weak, achy or tired
  • are shaking or shivering
  • have lost your appetite
  • are unable to care for yourself e.g. dressing yourself or making food is too difficult
  • feel unwell after 4 weeks - this may be long COVID.

If you become very unwell at home, you need to call triple zero (000) and ask for an ambulance. You should tell the operator that you have COVID-19.

Call triple zero (000) if you:

  • are so breathless you are unable to say short sentences when resting
  • suddenly find it hard to breathe or your breathing has gotten worse
  • cough up blood
  • feel cold and sweaty, with pale or blotchy skin
  • have a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin and doesn't fade when you roll a glass over it
  • collapse or faint
  • feel agitated, confused or very drowsy
  • stop urinating or are urinating much less than usual.

If you have a speech and/or hearing impairment and use telecommunication devices for the deaf, contact the Text Emergency Relay Service on 106.

Treatments for COVID-19

Medications have become available which decrease the severity of COVID-19 illness.

Read more about medications for COVID-19.

How to isolate

For advice on what you can and can't do, read the isolation rules.

Last updated: 10 August 2022

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Last updated: 10 August 2022